By Bill Jenings of the Wisconsin Independent
Used with permission
Milwaukee County’s controversial right-wing Fox News pundit, otherwise known as Sheriff David Clarke, seems to be quaking in his cowboy boots after last week’s announcement that well-known Milwaukee community leader Earnell Lucas is planning a run to take him out. Lucas is a 25-year Milwaukee Police Department veteran who survived being shot in the face in the line of duty. He then moved into a national role and for the past 15 years has served in high-level security roles for Major League Baseball.
“I’ve dedicated my life to public service,” says Lucas. “It would be a high honor for me to give back to Milwaukee County all that law enforcement, baseball, Milwaukee, and the world have given to me.”
In his time at Major League Baseball, Lucas has been responsible for helping to safeguard and secure the integrity of Major League Baseball’s top events, including All-Star Games and the World Series. Lucas is especially proud of overseeing the successful execution of security measures at the 2009 All-Star Game in St. Louis, where newly-elected President Barack Obama threw out the ceremonial first pitch.
“I’m a lifelong Milwaukee and Wisconsin sports fan,” says Lucas, and when asked, he notes, “I do know the way to Green Bay,” a light-hearted jab at Clarke, who’s known to be a fan of the Dallas Cowboys.
Clarke has come under increasing scrutiny for his management of the Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Office, which has seen problem after problem highlighted in local media. The most recent concern stems from an eight-month stretch in 2016 that saw four deaths in the Milwaukee County Jail, which Clarke is responsible for. The deaths included the newborn infant of an inmate, and an inmate who died of dehydration.
“The Sheriff’s Department should be partnering with law enforcement and public safety agencies in the 19 municipalities in Milwaukee County to find solutions to the problems plaguing our area,” says Lucas. “In addition, there needs to be a comprehensive and concerted effort on the part of elected officials, the courts, prosecutors, social service agencies, and our residents to keep Milwaukee County safe.
“The only way we can make a positive impact on the problems of drugs, gangs, and guns in Milwaukee County is to partner with each other in a way that simply isn’t happening right now,” continues Lucas.
Clarke also has been criticized for management decisions that have resulted in lawsuits costing Milwaukee taxpayers millions of dollars, for lackadaisical oversight of his employees, and for gallivanting around the country giving speeches to right-wing audiences, netting him hundreds of thousands of dollars in outside income.
“I’ve always found the best way to resolve conflict is to be present, gather everyone in the room, and solve our problems collaboratively,” says Lucas. “In my current role, I work with leading law enforcement practitioners across the country and around the world and the one thing that impresses me most is their ability to get people to work together.”
Lucas was born and raised in Milwaukee, graduating from Rufus King High School. He joined the Milwaukee Police Department as a police aide, and worked his way up to the rank of Captain, earning a bachelor’s degree at Marquette University along the way. He served as commanding officer of both the Third and Fourth Districts, and then accepted a position in Major League Baseball as the Supervisor of Security for then-Commissioner Bud Selig.
“Commissioner Selig is a great man and a great leader for whom I have the utmost respect,” says Lucas.
Lucas talks with passion about his desire to offer hope and faith to a community that has seen huge public disputes between some of its leaders, often instigated by Clarke.
“I always conduct myself with dignity and respect, and will bring those same traits to the Office of the Sheriff,” says Lucas. “The trajectory of the public discourse has gotten off track and I hope to restore some integrity to the way we communicate with each other.”
Lucas says he’ll run as a Democrat in the August 2018 primary, but will be running a nonpartisan campaign open to all.
“I will work to earn the trust and support of Democrats, Republicans, and Independents alike across Milwaukee County,” Lucas says. “It’s time for the people’s voice to be heard and for the Sheriff’s Office to be transparent and open to input. If given the honor of becoming Milwaukee County’s next sheriff, my number one priority for the Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Office will be to keep our community safe.”
The Lucas campaign can be reached at 414-215-9665 or on the web at LucasForMKE.com.