Woman Fires Gun, Blames Controversial Sheriff Ad

UPDATED: Tuesday, January 29, 2013 -- 5:52 p.m.

MILWAUKEE (AP) -- A Milwaukee woman accused of firing a gun says the sheriff said it was OK for her to arm herself.Police approached 36-year-old Makisha Cooper Saturday about firing a gun.

Cooper told police she heard Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke Jr. on the radio "that she could own a gun to protect herself."Clarke aired a radio ad last week telling Milwaukee-area residents not to count on a rapid police response to 911 calls and instead to take a gun safety course.

Cooper told police she fired a gun once outside a house after getting into a fight with her niece.In a statement, the sheriff says "there is no parallel" between this case and what he said.

The Journal Sentinel reports Cooper is charged with two misdemeanor counts.

UPDATED Monday, January 28, 2013

DODGE COUNTY--The Milwaukee County Sheriff's radio ad is grabbing plenty of attention: " ...With officers laid off and furloughed, simply calling 911 and waiting is no longer your best option. You could beg for mercy from a violent criminal, hide under the bed or you can fight back," says the ad. He goes on to encourage listeners to take a firearm safety course, so that they can defend themselves.

Those comments aren't necessarily sitting well with some of his law enforcement colleagues. "Dial 911 we will be there for you," said
Dodge County Sheriff Todd Nehls.

When the Milwaukee County sheriff makes that kind of announcement, ears perk up elsewhere too. Sheriff Nehls said he felt the need to go on the record for the people he represents, saying they should be calling 911 in emergencies. "As a community leader and a law enforcement professional my job is to educate people on how they can protect themselves with a variety of mechanisms and measures, not necessarily with a handgun," said Sheriff Nehls.

Sheriff Nehls said he's a big supporter of the second amendment.
"I support people and their defending themselves, but if you listen to the PSA there's no bridge," he said. "It goes right to if you're going to be a victim of a crime get your gun and I think there's other things we can do."

Sheriff Nehls said there are intermediate steps people can take to ensure their safety. "Make sure your doors are locked, make sure you have good deadbolts, have an internal security system in your car, have proper lighting in your back yard," he said.


UPDATED Friday, January 25, 2013 --- 4:47 p.m.

A Wisconsin sheriff says he released an ad calling on residents to defend themselves because the old model of having a citizen call 911 and wait for help isn't always the best option.

In the ad, Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke Jr. tells residents that when it comes to personal safety: "I need you in the game." He urges citizens to learn to use firearms so they can "fight back" until authorities arrive.

The ad has drawn sharp criticism from other area officials. The president of the Milwaukee Deputy Sheriffs' Association, Roy Felber, says it sounds like a call to vigilantism.

But Clarke says he can either whine about budget cuts that have reduced the number of deputies or call on citizens to work with officers in some situations.

Copyright 2013: Associated Press


Posted Friday, January 25, 2013 --- 2:32 p.m.

MILWAUKEE (AP) -- A Wisconsin sheriff is urging citizens to learn to handle firearms -- so they can defend themselves until authorities arrive.

Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke Jr., released the radio ad this week, telling residents that when it comes to personal safety: "I need you in the game."

In the ad, Clarke says that because of layoffs and furloughs, simply calling 911 and waiting is no longer the best option. He says citizens can either beg for mercy, hide or "fight back."

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports the spot was aired at least once, and posted on the department's website Friday.

Roy Felber, president of the Milwaukee Deputy Sheriffs' Association, says the ad sounds like a call to vigilantism.

A message left for Clarke was not immediately returned.

Copyright 2013: Associated Press