By Chris Moews
If you haven’t heard, I am currently running for Milwaukee County Sheriff against David Clarke in the upcoming Democratic primary election. Should I have the honor to be your next Sheriff, improving our justice system will be my top priority.
When I was growing up, my Mom volunteered at a male retreat house on 55th and Vliet where she would help adults learn to read and write. She would take me along, and while she was giving lessons I would shoot pool with some of the guys there.
Years later I found out that most of these individuals had serious drug and alcohol dependency issues and other mental health problems. That’s when I learned that you cannot judge someone based on the circumstances under which they were born or even the mistakes they’ve made. You have to treat everyone the same way: like human beings.
I have been a law enforcement officer now for 16-years, currently supervising the Homicide Division of the Milwaukee Police Department. I love my job, but I am sick and tired of seeing people killed and criminals re-offending because they feel they have no other options.
I’m not exactly the typical cop. I spent two years in the seminary discerning a lifestyle as a priest. In the end, I decided I wanted to raise a family, but the lessons I took from the seminary about faith and service to my community have strongly impacted the way I view law enforcement.
These lessons, however, are notably absent from the Milwaukee County justice system.
Consider the high rate of repeat offenses.
We currently spend nearly $40,000 per year to house a single inmate at the House of Corrections. Not only is that fiscally irresponsible, but it doesn’t give the inmates the chance to get out of the cycle of crime. We need to make sure they have the drug and alcohol counseling, job training, and education they need so they don’t come back through the revolving door at the House of Corrections.
Sheriff Clarke has not promoted these programs: he has proposed cutting them. The Farm and Fish Hatchery, the Print Shop, and a variety of other programs at the prison would be on his chopping block already if it were not for the progressive leaders on the County Board. He even took the books out of the House of Corrections, as if reading was a threat to our community.
If Sheriff Clarke had his way crime would be the only option available to criminals.
The way the Sheriff contributes the justice system in Milwaukee County is something that must change. As Sheriff, I will remember the lessons my mother taught me and the lessons I learned in the seminary. These are the lessons that make communities strong.
I hope you join me, because by working together we can do a lot more to improve the way we conduct justice in Milwaukee County.
Chris Moews is a Lieutenant supervising the Homicide Division of the Milwaukee Police Department and is currently challenging Sheriff David Clarke in the September 14th Democratic primary election.