By Urban Media News
Earnell Lucas’s story is a Milwaukee story. As he runs for Milwaukee County Sheriff, he speaks at length about the people and places that shaped his youth, from his early boyhood at the Hillside Housing Project. He speaks with reverence of the values he learned as a young man growing up on Milwaukee’s North Side–responsibility, hard work, compassion, and an unyielding commitment to serving a greater good–because these are the same values that guide him today, as a Major League Baseball security executive running for Milwaukee County Sheriff.
Born at Hillside, Lucas was raised by a single grandmother who relocated from Jasper, Alabama to raise Lucas and his brothers after their mother died. She raised her grandson to prize integrity and responsibility and instilled the importance of helping others and serving the community.
As a young man of color growing up in one of America’s most segregated cities, Lucas experienced injustice firsthand. When he was twelve and running an errand for his grandmother, a Milwaukee police officer wrongly accused him of stealing a purse. This encounter–both the wrongful accusation, and the officer’s eventual decision to de-escalate the situation and depart–encouraged Lucas to consider a career serving others.
After Lucas graduated from Rufus King High School and joined the Milwaukee Police Department, another fateful encounter shaped his commitment to public service. Called to an incident, Lucas was shot in the face by an assailant and sustained severe injuries. Despite being eligible for duty disability, Lucas stayed on the police force after his recovery, rising to the rank of captain.
After retiring, Lucas became the security supervisor for MLB Commissioner Bud Selig. A few years later, Lucas was promoted and today serves as MLB’s Chief Liaison for Security and Investigations. As an MLB executive, Lucas has coordinated security with national and international law enforcement partners, ensuring the safety of over 75 million fans each year. Colleagues, subordinates and supervisors alike praise Lucas’s collaborative approach and ability to negotiate difficult situations with integrity and skill.
Why would a senior executive leave such a position to run for political office? For Lucas, the decision to enter the Milwaukee County Sheriff’s race in April 2017 was the right one at the right time. He had watched as the Sheriff’s Office’s reputation was tarnished by severe failures in leadership, accountability, and compassion. Most disturbingly, seven individuals have died between 2016 and 2018 in the Milwaukee County Jail, the only correctional facility still run by the Sheriff’s Office. Lucas recognized an agency that had completely lost the trust of the public, and offered his service to the community in righting the ship.
Lucas’s conception of public safety sharply contrasts with the failed policies of past leadership in the Sheriff’s Office. Lucas emphasizes inter-agency collaboration to address serious challenges affecting Milwaukee County, including human trafficking, gun violence, and the opioid epidemic. He recognizes that mass incarceration is an epidemic plaguing our community and blocking the road to social justice. He is committed to implementing rehabilitative programming in the county jail and ensuring that everyone housed there receives proper care and quality healthcare services.
Lucas’s goal is not personal political advancement but rather efficient, effective, and compassionate law enforcement that builds a safer and stronger community for all. He runs as a Democrat because he believes in social justice and in building a Milwaukee County that works for all its residents, not because it’s politically convenient.
In short, Lucas is running to restore honor and integrity to our Sheriff’s Office. Not only is his platform a bold new vision of law enforcement that our community can truly trust, it is an affirmation of the values Lucas has held since his boyhood here in Milwaukee. Earnell Lucas is writing another chapter in a uniquely Milwaukee story, one that can serve as an inspiration to all of us.