Milwaukee police could take over airport security at Mitchell International
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MILWAUKEE- The Milwaukee Police Department could take over patrolling the airport from the Milwaukee County Sheriff's Department, but should they?
Despite no reported security problems, it could happen, reports Newsradio 620 WTMJ's John Mercure.
Mitchell International Airport is a mini city. For decades the mini city has been patrolled by the sheriff's department.
Yet now a group of city and county leaders are considering turning over airport security to MPD.
"Are we looking at that and other potential models of different ways of doing the services we deliver -- always," said Abele to Wisconsin's Afternoon News with John Mercure. "We're trying to get you, the taxpayer, the best value and the best outcome we can."
Abele said he wouldn't change any function unless he was certain outcomes were consistent and the county saved money.
Airport security isn't paid for by the county, it's covered by TSA -- a federal government agency, so critics wonder why the county executive's office would get involved in this process.
According to Abele, "Any place I can have something to do with improving an outcome and saving money, regardless of which tax dollars paid for it -- I'm going to do it."
Abele's idea isn't sitting well with Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke. He says if it happens, there will be hidden costs and inefficiencies.
"In an era of concerns about airport security...to make a change like this, you better present a good reason -- and I haven't one," said Clarke to Wisconsin's Afternoon News.
"It's a huge undertaking to make a change like this," said Clarke. "Our people know all the procedures...the learning curve is steep."
Clarke believes this isn't about "sharing efficiencies", as Abele's spokesman told the Journal Sentinel, but this is about "creating a very chaotic situation when it is unnecessary to do so."
The talks are in the very early stages.