MADISON, Wis. — In response to a simple open records request for his taxpayer-maintained calendar for eight days in August 2012, Milwaukee Sheriff David Clarke provided One Wisconsin Now with an almost entirely redacted calendar, where 18 of 22 entries were obscured and no conclusion can be made that Clarke was actually in the state during that time period. Clarke is claiming his calendar, maintained at taxpayer expense, is “a personal document.”
During the week in question, a shooting occurred at a Sikh temple in Oak Creek. Sheriff Clarke was notable in his still unexplained absence during a major law enforcement incident in Milwaukee County in which six innocent worshippers were killed and four wounded by a white supremacist madman.
“David Clarke owes Milwaukee County residents answers about how he spent his time,” said One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross. “If 18 of the 22 events on David Clarke’s calendar over an eight day stretch are ‘personal,’ it raises serious questions about why the Sheriff is taking so much personal time on the taxpayers’ dime and who is managing the business of the Sheriff’s Office in his extended absence.”
Clarke’s controversial and oftentimes bizarre publicity stunts, and his out-of-state jet setting ways are well reported, including high profile appearances at right wing gatherings of the Tea Party and National Rifle Association. The result has been a Milwaukee County Sheriffs Department wracked by mismanagement, costing taxpayers money and making residents less safe.
For example, Clarke disbanded the Sheriff’s anti-gang squad and gun violence task forces and is not investigating homicides and sexual assaults. Also under Clarke, the Sheriff’s Department failed to gather DNA samples from 561 inmates, making it harder for police to resolve unsolved murders and sexual assaults. More recently it’s been reported that deputies have been allowed to earn overtime while sitting in chairs at the county courthouse.
“David Clarke was AWOL when one of the worst tragedies in state history struck in Milwaukee County. Now David Clarke is hiding his whereabouts that week from the public. It’s the definition of ‘cowardly,’” said Ross.
Clarke’s almost totally-redacted calendar from August 3 to August 10, 2012 can be viewed at http://bit.ly/1vDp0iV.