Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke said he is leaving the Sheriff’s Office to become deputy secretary of the Department of Homeland Security.
“It’s going to be a huge learning curve for me. I’m going to get in there and figure out the landscape; learn the people. I’ll be developing who I have interplay with. And then figure out, after I talk with Secretary Kelly, figure out a strategy to create this better liaison between the Department of Homeland Security and our state and local partners.”
Clarke made the announcement Wednesday afternoon on Vicki McKenna’s show on 1130 WISN radio.
WISN 12 News contacted the Department of Homeland Security about Clarke’s announcement and received this response:
“The position mentioned is a secretarial appointment. Such senior positions are announced by the Department when made official by the secretary. No such announcement with regard to the Office of Public Engagement has been made,” a spokeswoman said.
Rumors have been swirling since Donald Trump was elected president, even as recently as last week when Clarke’s name was mentioned for FBI director.
Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele, who has repeatedly disagreed with Clarke over a variety of issues, issues a statement saying, “I’ve said repeatedly that Milwaukee deserves better than Sheriff Clarke. America does, too.
“For the country I love, the last thing America needs is another loud voice angrily and unproductively telling you who to blame and who not to trust,” Abele said.
Clarke said he told Gov. Scott Walker a couple of months ago that he might be leaving but has not spoken to him this week.
“We have not yet received a resignation letter from Sheriff Clarke. The process for naming a replacement does not begin until a formal resignation letter is received,” said Tom Evenson, Gov. Scott Walker’s Office.
Clarke has been Milwaukee County’s sheriff since 2002.
A Sheriff’s Office spokesman said Clarke is in Washington for Law Enforcement Week and is not available for comment but that Clarke is expected to start the new role sometime in June.
“I have to retire from law enforcement,” Clarke said. “But I won’t have to abandon it totally.”
This is a developing story and will be updated throughout the day.
WEBVTT OUTSIDE THE SHERIFF’S OFFICE.SHELDON.SHELDON: THE SHERIFF HAS LED THECOUNTY SINCE 2002, BUT HIS DAYSHERE AT THE COUNTY COMPLEX MIGHTBE NUMBERED.WE KNOW HE HAS BEEN A VOCALSUPPORTER OF PRESIDENT TRUMP,AND NOW HE MIGHT JOIN THEADMINISTRATION, WORKING IN THEDEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY.HE MADE THAT ANNOUNCEMENTEARLIER ON THE RADIO.A SPOKESMAN FOR THE SHERIFFTELLS ME CLARKE MIGHT START HISNEW POSITION SOMETIME IN JUNE.HERE IS MORE FROM THE SHERIFFTALKING ABOUT HIS NEW ROLE.>> I AM BOTH HONORED AND HUMBLEDTO BE APPOINTED THIS POSITION BYSECRETARY KELLY COME UP WORKINGFOR THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION.I HAVE TO NOTIFY THE GOVERNOR TOPREPARE THIS OFFICE UNDER THEINTERIM.THEN I HAVE TO RETIRE FROM LAWENFORCEMENT, AND I WILL MISSTHAT. SHELDON: THIS MIGHT NOT BE ADONE DEAL JUST YET.I REACHED OUT TO THE DEPARTMENTOF HOMELAND SECURITY DEPARTMENT.THEY SENT US A STATEMENTSAYING, “SUCH SENIOR POSITIONSARE ANNOUNCED BY THE DEPARTMENTWHEN MADE OFFICIAL BY THESECRETARY.NO SUCH ANNOUNCEMENT WITH REGARDTO THE OFFICE OF PUBLICENGAGEMENT HAS BEEN MADE.” SHERIFF CLARKE IS ACTUALLY INWASHINGTON RIGHT NOW.HIS SPOKESMAN TELLS ME HE’STHERE FOR LAW ENFORCEMENT WEEK.