Chief Pot Meet Sheriff Kettle
I'm not sure whether Milwaukee County Sheriff Clarke really needed to "apologize" for Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn's allegedly "rude" behavior while testifying before a Senate subcommittee last week. Ed Flynn, like David Clarke, is no stranger to controversy and is clearly picking his battles.
Still, I thought Flynn's response to Sheriff Clarke was interesting.
According to Flynn: "I'm not interested in getting into a feud with a politician trying to raise funds for the next campaign. While David A. Clarke Jr. is certainly entertaining on these important topics he hasn't proven relevant to a serious discussion of the issues. The data continue to show that no one has more to say about law enforcement in Milwaukee County and less to actually do with it than Sheriff Clarke."
"A politician"? Not ".. proven relevant to a serious discussion of the issues"?
Talk about the pot calling the kettle black.
Make no mistake about it - Ed Flynn is every bit as much a politician as David Clarke, if not more so. While Clarke is elected by the voters of Milwaukee County, Flynn has a constituency of one - Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett. Just like Clarke will be out of a job if he loses the support of the voters, Flynn will be on the first bus out of town just as soon as he loses favor with Barrett (contract or no contract).
Over the last several months, Flynn has faced a firestorm of criticism for his operation of the Milwaukee Police Department. Frankly, I think some of this criticism has been fair while some has been unfair. Nevertheless, I think it's clear that Flynn knows that he's skating on thin ice.
There is absolutely no question in my mind that Flynn has been actively trying to move the focus away from the problems with the MPD to issues more in tune with the media template and the agenda of his benefactor Tom Barrett. As a result, Flynn has decided to become a poster boy for various gun control measures currently being pushed by the Mayor.
Some could certainly argue that given all the serious problems that have arisen at MPD under Flynn's watch, his time would be better spent cleaning his own house as opposed to carrying water for the Mayor. Still, I would guess that Flynn figures he probably won't be around very long unless he does what he thinks he needs to do.
Maybe it's just me but why do I suspect that Flynn might be taking an entirely different position on some of these issues if he were working for Scott Walker instead of Tom Barrett? Just saying. ...
As an aside, given the serious questions about the accuracy of MPD crime statistics for the bulk of Flynn's term, he may be the last person who should be talking about "data".
In another life, I would occasionally run across law enforcement guys like Ed Flynn. As a group, I found that these folks had an absolutely remarkable capacity for self-preservation. They knew exactly what to do to deflect criticism from themselves and change the narrative when it suited their purpose.
In other words, they were great politicians. They might also have been capable law enforcement officers as well - but at heart, they were great politicians.
So, when Ed Flynn describes David Clarke as "a politician", I say: Chief Pot meet Sheriff Kettle.