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It can’t be easy running a public entity in a time of austerity. With a stagnant economy, fewer taxpayers employed and home foreclosures rampant, tax receipts are shrinking. What’s a dedicated public servant to do? Short of laying off staff, they have to find creative ways to do more with less – stretch their dollars by squeezing every bit of useable life out of the assets they have. Unless you’re running a law enforcement agency in Wisconsin, that is. With a few extra bucks in the budget and the end of the fiscal year just around the corner, the Milwaukee County Sheriff decided he needed to look for ways to kit up . . .

So Sherriff David Clark decided this is as good a time as any to replace their 10 year-old Glocks with the latest and greatest in Gastonian perfection. But as reports, what’s really raised eyebrows in the land of cheddar and cheap beer is the number of guns they’re buying. They’ve ordered 565 guns for their 275 deputies.

Sheriff’s Inspector Richard Schmidt said the idea wasn’t to buy two pistols per deputy, but to get enough of the Glocks to equip deputies, the department’s command staff, a growing number of firearm-equipped jail guards and have enough left over for a cache of 50 or so weapons that can be used if someone’s regular weapon is on the fritz.

I was told that there’d be no math required in writing snarky gun commentary, but if my ciphering’s even close, that means the department has 240 command staff and jail guards on top of the men and women pounding the pavement. Someone more churlish might consider that top-heavy.

“Unless there was a two-for-one sale, there was absolutely no reason to justify this,” said county Supervisor John Weishan Jr.

It also struck Weishan as odd that the department would replace all its service weapons at once rather than staggering the buys. Deputies very seldom have occasion to fire their guns, he said.

“Let’s be honest. We’re not fighting a war here,” Weishan said. “A deputy is just going to fire his weapon on the (shooting) range. The most wear and tear on a weapon is just cleaning it.”

But leave it to Milwaukee County Supervisor Mark Borkowski to step up and display the kind of stewardship and concern for the public fisc that’s has so many municipalities where they are today.

“Who am I to say what the proper number is?” said Borkowski, chairman of the County Board panel that reviews legal and law enforcement issues. “It’s his shop . . . he gets to call the shots.”

And the Sheriff did seem to cut a decent deal.

Schmidt said considering the $169 cost each [after trade-in] of upgrading the existing department handguns, it made sense to buy new. Recoil spring mechanisms in the handguns typically need replacing and the [tritium] sights — aiming guides on the gun barrel — should be upgraded after a decade, Schmidt said.

We’re confident that Inspector Schmidt will be only too happy to provide Milwaukee County residents with a complete accounting of where each and every one of those 240 additional guns will be going.

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  1. “command staff and jail guards on top of the men and women pounding the pavement. Someone more churlish might consider that top-heavy.”
    If you think that’s bad, don’t crunch the numbers on the military. You’ll have a heart attack. For every person on the sharp end, there’s at least 5 in the tail.

    • Yeah, that is a bit alarming, but look at the logistics needed to keep one Abrams tank in ammo, fuel, and repairs, or a fighter jet in the air for one hour. The fancier, more capable, higher-tech the weapon, the more logistical tail you need to keep it useful. This does not explain the assistant deputy assistant deputies at the Pentagon, however. Those are needed to schmooze the Congress.

      • Oh, believe me, I know what it takes to keep a jet in the air. A particularly telling example: when I got out (2006), it took an average of 20 hours of maintenance for every flying hour on the F-22. Not sure if that’s improved much.

        • Try an AV-8B almost 100 man hours per flight hour. 1994-2000 VMA231 USMC. We flew more hours as a unit than any other fixed wing in the Marines. (can you say LOTS of man hours to put in)

      • Yep!!! It takes a lot of beans and bullets and boots to keep us old grunts happy!!!!
        Thanks to all the guys who kept us fed and supplied!!!!

  2. “It’s his shop . . . he gets to call the shots.”

    Thanks, County Supervisor Jackhole, for putting your finger on the issue. It’s that kind of thinking that has turned local police into Imperial Storm Troopers all over the country. It’s not “his shop” — not if that particular piggy is feeding at the public trough. It’s supposed to be The People’s Shop — but thanks for reminding everyone of exactly who the cops are, just in case we forgot.

      • And Glock will turn right around and off load those trades for $169 a piece, bringing them right up to the LEO discounted cost of a new glock. It’s up to you Glock fans to make up the profit shortfall.–But as long as cops keep buying them, so will all the glock fans.

        (No, not a Glock fan. Nothing against the gun or the company (even if the owner and his deputies are all crooks stealing from anyone, including each other), but for me I didn’t like the way it shot.)

  3. i don’t know about a county agency like this; but i worked for the feds for 10 years. if you had a 10 grand budget for the year and you were resposible with your funds and only spent 9 grand for the year the money you saved was taken back and your next budget reflected your savings, you got 9 instead of 10. this causes a spending spree at the end of the fiscal year. hell of a way to run a railroad.

    • Yup. Same thing in the Canadian Army – March Madness, since our FY ended March 31. You couldn’t save the funds to have a better GunCamp (annual shooting and explosives qualification) the next year – you use it or you lose it going forward. So we moved GunCamp to the end of Feb, and blew out the budget on ammo, C4, etc., and then prayed we had enough funds to get through March.

    • I was a comptroller in my last assignment for the Navy. I turned back a million dollars one year and the next year still got the same amount as the year before. The “use it or lose it next year” idea is a myth.

    • You really seem to like that word. I’ve seen you use it in at least three threads toward three different entities. You really ought to work on your imagination.

      • You’re just jealous because I said it before you did. And there are much worse things I could say about law enforcement in this shithole country.

        • You’re mistaken as to my state of mind. But thanks for reminding me to skip over your comments in the future, since thus far you’ve added nothing of value to any conversation I’ve seen you in.

        • Tom’s N***** – Wow…you come across like a bitter, angry, SOB. Ever try living somewhere outside of the US? Maybe you should.

  4. I had a company commander tell the supply sergeant to order 10000 (500 boxes) skillcraft pens because there was still money in the GSA budget at the end of the year.

  5. Guess he’s got to be like the feds and spend every last cent. (A contractor is NOT allowed to be under-budget in a job if they want further contracts. They MUST spend every last penny, even if unnecessarily.)

    Looks as if they felt they couldn’t afford to carry over any surplus funds to help the next budget’s balance where it could have possibly been a positive for them. Was it because someone could have seen the extra and then decide a budgetary cutback was in order for the department?

    • Because if a contractor doesn’t spend what they contracted for, they technically overcharged in the first place.

      Is there inefficiency in the government system? Yes. But look at it another way, it’s just more government spending that puts money, albeit indirectly, in workers’ pockets.

  6. I am completely astonished at the number of people who have never heard of the “you have to spend your budget to keep it” concept. That’s been around for literally as long as I can remember, certainly as long as I’ve been in the workforce. I remember hearing that at the first retail job I ever had, nigh on twenty years ago.

    I’m not saying it’s a sensible policy, I’m just surprised at the number of you who are surprised.

    • I mustered out in may 75. We were spending cash like it was free to keep the next years budget up to snuff. It was that way when my dad was a supply sergeant during WW2. This is not new.

  7. He already did identify who’s getting those guns. Unless there’s some reason to believe he’s lying about his payroll, I don’t see a problem here. At $169 each, that’s not much more than it would cost in parts & labor to swap night sights on a couple hundred guns and give them a good armorer’s going-over. Glock’s got a good idea there: For a modest fee, they’re allowing police departments to outsource their maintenance. Seems like a win-win for all involved. And don’t forget, those traded guns will end up hitting the public market, allowing people who might not be able to afford a new quality gun to get into a Glock. Another reliable gun on the streets in an honest citizen’s hands is a win for me even if the night sights are faded.

  8. The correctional officers — jail guards — now fully staff both the county jail and the County Correctional Facility-South in Franklin. Over the past decade under Clarke, deputies have been phased out of monitoring inmates. Clarke has argued that some of the duties of deputies can be done equally well by correctional officers at lower cost to taxpayers.

    Under that policy, the number of deputies has declined from 800 to about 320. Clarke’s 2012 budget took a deep cut, forcing layoffs of 48 more deputies, bringing the total to about 275.

    Felber said he’d prefer the department save the money for the new guns and use it to reinstate laid-off deputies.

    Felber said he suspected Clarke planned to shift the duty of escorting inmates to court dates to correctional officers, a further erosion of the scope of deputies’ defined tasks.

    The $75,000 price for the 565 guns was about $20,000 lower than originally expected, Schmidt said. The money for the gun purchase was authorized in 2011.

    So, he’s replaced over 500 deputies for about $75,000 outlay.

  9. These are Glocks, not Saturday night specials, how unreliable could they be to require a 50 gun reserve? Get a few parts on hand like springs or mags and save the taxpayers a few bucks.

  10. Chief to Mayor: “I just got 565 Glocks for 275 deputies!”

    Mayor to Chief: “Great trade! Now see if you can get some shotguns for all of those damn meter maids.”

  11. The sheriff should fire his entire staff and then commit suicide. I guarantee it wouldn’t make a shit’s worth of difference to the community (or to me).

  12. Well, at least he went with a good gun at a very modest price. Compared to Maine LE Sherriff David Clark is a model of responsibility.

    Unlike the Maine State Police, who just Have to Have New HK45’s. Because clearly they Simply Cannot Do Without their 1000$ pistols….

    Or the Portland PD who had a wad of cash burning a hole in their pocket that they decided to spend on Benelli M4’s with EoTech’s.
    You might ask: So Gump, why does Portland’s Finest need Benelli M4’s? Well sir, I dunno. They already have AR15’s in their patrol cars…Like the one I saw idling unattended in a parking lot gas station yesterday….wasting gas, leaving a serious bit of firepower relatively un-secured…sigh….wtf….

    Now lets do some math with regards to Sherriff Clark. Suppose he had bought only enough guns to re-equip his people…say he bought half as many guns, but he paid the same amount. That would work out to 169*2 = 338$ per gun. Getting brand new Glocks at $338 a piece is pretty good in my book, since retail price is at least 450$.

    Sherriff Clark literally got a two-for-the-price of one deal and people criticize him. Go figure.

  13. Talk about making a tempest in a tea-pot: Its pretty reasonable to do a bulk purchase with plenty of spares, especially at that price: $170 each, on trade for however many clapped-out, 10-year old glocks, it would make perfect sense to make sure you have a good reserve for when you have new deputies, spares, prison guards, range guns for the academy, etc…

  14. When I lived in Toronto, Canada in the early 1960s, the service weapon for the police department was a .32 Webley revolver. Most of them were fifty years old, had been handed down from generation to generation of officers, and were still in excellent condition. My own handguns are all about thirty years old. The only reasons I might replace them are that I wanted a different caliber or a wanted a design (e.g. sriker fired pistol) that didn’t exist then. Surely Milwaukee’s Glocks aren’t worn out yet. Is $169 is a reasonable price for new tritium night sights and springs? Are they replacing the tritium sights with lasers?

  15. I dunno, I don’t see any outrage here.

    Price – O.K.
    Quantity – Questionable, but easily rectified by releasing staff numbers.
    Reserve guns – 50 seems reasonable, especially if they’re growing.

  16. He can turn this political fart into a boon.

    Just sell the overage to the public, at the same prices he paid for them.

  17. What is the problem here? Wow, all the Sheriff Clark bashing. This was a BUDGETED expense and he CLEANED UP on the deal. He has jail staff way beyond the “boots on the ground”. There are certainly many cases of wasteful spending in government but this IS NOT ONE OF THEM.

    Better yet, read his response to the pol’s yesterday. LOVE IT.

    “This puke politician insinuates that cops are not worthy of the best equipment I can get them that might just be the difference between going home at the end of a shift or ending up on a memorial wall,” Clarke said.

    The sheriff continued, “by the way, I didn’t see this small man at the police memorial ceremony this past May honoring the courage and sacrifice of officers killed in the line of duty protecting his pudgy ass. I wonder how many of them thought all they would ever do with their weapon was clean it or fire it on the range.”


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