On Thursday, June 24, the Milwaukee County Board will vote on creating 3 new deputy sheriff positions using $300,000 from the county mental health budget. These funds are coming in connection with the Crisis Assessment Response Team (CART) program, which replaces a deputy sheriff with a mental health professional on calls relating to mental health crises.
Please contact your county supervisor (find them here) to demand they oppose the creation of new deputy sheriffs using mental health dollars. When calling, express support for the CART program because replacing deputies with mental health clinicians on mental health calls reduces the risk of people in crisis being assaulted, arrested, and incarcerated. However, it is inappropriate and absurd for the sheriff’s office to use a program that replaces sheriff deputies with clinicians as a reason to take money from the mental health budget to hire more sheriff deputies.
[UDPATE: The meeting happened Thursday June 17. Jason Haas put these items at the very end of the 31-item agenda, requiring everyone who wanted to testify to wait on the phone 7 hours for the chance. Only Ryan Clancy’s proposed right to council for eviction defense had as many public testimonies, Haas scheduled that as item 25. It passed. Haas also tried to invoke parliamentary rules to silence Clancy on the CART program. When that failed, he invented new rules. Willie Johnson Jr took over chair duties during the discussion of sheriff overtime. He refused to acknowledge at least one of the submitted eComments because it brought up the spurious origin of Ted Chisholm’s position as MCSO chief of staff. We’d counter that Chisholm gaining his position through nepotism and cronyism seems directly related to his inability to write an acceptable report.
The votes: – For CART, only Clancy and Sequanna Taylor voted against creating three new sheriff positions. Chisholm brought in sheriff Lucas and Michael Lappen from BHD, who convinced the rest of the board that CART could not happen without giving MCSO $300,000 to add three deputy sheriff FTEs to the list of vacant deputy sheriff positions they cannot fill because so few people want to be deputy sheriffs.
-For overspending, Chisholm’s report was again rejected because the only “solution” to overtime overspending he proposed was everyone giving them more money. The vote was close: Clancy, Taylor, Liz Sumner, and Joseph Czarneski were in favor of rejecting the report. Haas, Johnson Jr, and Shawn Rolland wanted to let Ted Chisholm and MCSO off the hook.]
The people of Milwaukee want less of our money going to law enforcement, but county officials are letting sheriff Earnell Lucas rake it in. Unsatisfied with their generous budget, the Milwaukee county sheriff’s office (MCSO) has a habit of overspending on overtime. They’ve also worked to take in money allocated for mental health and tried to control the shift to more humane and effective approaches to public safety. Amidst all this resource-hoarding, Lucas is also working to silence his most vocal critic on the county board.