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 officer.com 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.