Were the badges broken? Worn out? Outdated? Why did Sheriff Clarke unilaterally decide to dispose of tradition, pride and esprit decor?
The stylish-but-effeminate new five-point badge is rumored to cost more than $50 a pop! That’s 50 bones multiplied by 550-plus deputies and -- don’t forget -- matching patches, wallets, neck-badge holders and other accessories to boot. It all comes to more than $30,000 from the crippled County that also happens to hand out pension benefits like cups of Kool-Aid and wants to institute a 1-percent sales tax to cover fiscal shortfalls.
Most of the old timers in the Sheriff’s department are none too happy about the badge change. It’s true that a few badges were chipped and nicked but those scars mostly emerged from black tape stripping the enamel. The black tape is used to cover the seal of the Sheriff’s badge when a fellow officer is killed in action.
Why would Clarke do away with tradition and spend thousands of County dollars? Was it a move designed to upset the union? (You know, the kind of good-ol’-fashioned pissing match that the Sheriff seems to relish.) If so, it’s certainly working. The union has already expressed its disapproval, but outside of stylistic issues (who would have thought that Clarke - like I am - was a closet metrosexual?), no explanation for the change is forthcoming.
But you can’t talk about Sheriff David “Style” Clarke and badges in Milwaukee County without mentioning…the tattoo.
Inside sources tell me that Sheriff Style has a five-point badge tattooed on his shoulder.
Sheriff Clarke has always worn his well-earned vanity on his sleeve (or shoulder), but that’s obviously not enough for him anymore. Now he wants his subordinates to wear it on their chests.