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Milwaukee sheriff defends "calling 911...not your best option" radio ad on CNN


MILWAUKEE, WI (WTAQ) - Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke went on national TV this morning to defend his recent radio ad that encouraged people to learn how to use guns to protect themselves.

On CNN’s “Starting Point,” host Soledad O’Brien said the ad was “kind of scary,” and she asked if the goal was for everybody to run out and buy guns.

Clarke said the criminals are the only scary things – and with fewer officers on the streets, he said he just wanted to give people options to save themselves.

Speaking from a convention in California, the Milwaukee sheriff said he had to lay off 42 people last year, and he was left with 350 sworn officers. He also said 1,500 Milwaukee police officers are each getting three-day furloughs this year.

While that happens, Clarke said “the crime continues to go on. At some point, there is a breaking point.”

Clarke’s ad said people can no longer sit back and wait for officers to save them after they call 911.

O’Brien told Clarke that many law enforcement officials believe the real danger is having so many armed citizens who are not well-trained. She cited the police chief in Chicago who called it a “recipe for disaster.”

Clarke said, quote, “I trust law-abiding citizens. The people who scare me are the criminal elements.”

He said he would not be putting more guns on the street because quote, “The guns are already there.”