By Karen Stokes
Earnell Lucas, candidate for Milwaukee County Sheriff has a new vision. A vision to restore trust between the Sheriff department and the community.
“I’ve seen the changes that have occurred at the sheriff’s office and I feel Milwaukee deserves better,” Lucas said.
“My vision is a department that respects human life whether it’s with our interactions with the public that we serve, whether it’s with those detained in our facilities or whether it’s the interaction between one another and how we treat each other,” said Lucas.
A Marquette University graduate, Lucas has over 40 years of law enforcement experience. His experience includes 25 years at the Milwaukee Police Department and after a nationwide search, Lucas was recruited to serve as Major League Baseball’s Head of Security. He believes his local, national and international experience prepares him uniquely to become the next sheriff.
Lucas was taught hard work, honor, integrity and dedication from his grandmother who raised him after the death of his mother. Those lessons made a positive impact on his life.
“I’m a product of this community, I was born in Hillside housing project. We lived on the upper west side until the disturbances in 1967, then we moved to the Harambee neighborhood. I’m from this community, I still attend St. Matthew C.M.E. Church and still have friends that I had as a boy. I know this community very well and we got a lot of work to do. I’m ready to roll up my sleeves on day one to help restore this communities trust in law enforcement again.
When asked about the series of wrongful death claims filed for those who lost their lives while being detained at the Milwaukee County Jail, Lucas believes accountability seems to be lacking.
“There’s been approximately seven deaths in the last 18 months that the previous sheriff, even the acting sheriff are accountable. They’re accountable for what transpired, and accountable for those people who were detained in their facility,” Lucas said. “The jail is a facility to detain persons who have not been adjudicated in a courtroom and in this case and every case that should not be a sentence to die.”
Lucas maintains moving forward that policies and procedures for the care and upkeep of the facility need to be put in place. There also needs to be proper healthcare for people in custody. He says that a lot of the programs for people detained at the facilities were removed by the previous administration.
“I don’t think that was the right decision for the people who are detained. Give them something to do, give them something to read, some alternatives and have them have at least some hope of never having to return there,” Lucas said.
In a politically divisive environment, Lucas separates himself from his predecessor by focusing on what is important for the community and restoring the trust. Sheriff Clarke, who resigned in August 2017, was regularly scrutinized for the mismanagement of the department.
“One of the things that I made very clear at the onset when I announced my candidacy was this race is not about person, it’s not about party, it’s about the people of Milwaukee County,” Lucas said. “I feel somewhere along the way the former sheriff said and made some transgressions against this community and some got perpetuated by the national media.”
There will be three Democrats running for Milwaukee County sheriff in the Aug. 14 primary. Lucas, Acting Sheriff Richard Schmidt who took over the post after serving as deputy to Clarke, and Deputy Robert Ostrowski.
The general election is Nov. 6.