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Wis. deputy's job called retaliation

July 27, 2005
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Wis. deputy's job called retaliation

The Associated Press

Milwaukee- A Milwaukee County deputy who criticized Sheriff David A. Clarke Jr. in a union newsletter has been reassigned to a one-man foot patrol in a north side area of Milwaukee where a number of murders have taken place this year.

Michael Schuh, 55, a court bailiff, was told Monday to take a bus to and from the neighborhood, contact every home and business, encourage cooperation with police and distribute a Sheriff's Department business card to those he contacts.

"Convince them that we're the good guys/we're on their side and can't succeed without their participation," Schuh was told in a memo from Capt. Eileen T. Richards.

Clarke issued a written statement on the move Monday night, saying he would assign resources in high-crime areas where they are needed.

"We have to put ourselves in harm's way so that the law-abiding people we serve won't have to," Clarke wrote. He said he did not want to waste his time responding to "any baseless insinuation made about what we're doing."

The sheriff has been outspoken about the string of murders on the north side this summer, saying police need help from families, schools, businesses and residents to address complex root causes for the violence. There have been 75 murders in the city of Milwaukee this year, compared with 51 at this time last year, with 18 taking place this month alone.

The memo was released to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel by Roy Felber, president of the Milwaukee Deputy Sheriffs' Association, which called the reassignment a dangerous form of retaliation. The union said it intends to file a lawsuit to try to stop it.

Felber said the union wants to help solve the violence problem in Milwaukee, but not in that manner.

"You're not going to solve anything throwing one deputy there," he said.

Schuh, an 18-year veteran of the Sheriff's Department, said that danger was part of being a deputy and he would take the assignment despite his belief that it was a punishment.

Schuh wrote a column known as "The Sacred Cow" in the July issue of "The MDSA Star," the union's newsletter.

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