Remember when the state’s DNA backlog first came to light?
At the time, Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke said of the situation, “This isn’t a mistake, this is an abomination. Let’s go ask the victims of unsolved sexual assaults or other crimes if they feel anybody needs to be held accountable.” Sheriff Clarke’s outrage was focused mainly on the Wisconsin Department of Corrections, so I find it highly ironic that the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel is reporting the number of DNA samples the Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Office failed to collect is higher than originally thought. The Milwaukee Sheriff’s Office failed to collect DNA samples from 561 inmates, and 180 of those people are still being sought to provide samples. The new number of DNA samples the Sheriff’s Office failed to collect from inmates in its custody is more than 200 higher than the number of missing DNA samples Sheriff Clarke disclosed to a Journal Sentinel reporter in October, and it’s worth noting that at that time, Sheriff Clarke also said all of the inmates whose DNA was not taken remained in the sheriff’s custody, a statement that clearly wasn’t factual.
Not surprisingly, as the latest news of his Office’s DNA collection shortcomings came to light, Sheriff Clarke announced he has taken disciplinary action against a captain and two sergeants who were responsible for DNA collection and worked in the Detention Services Bureau while avoiding taking any share of the blame for his ineffective oversight of the Sheriff’s Office.