JUNEAU - What should you do if someone is breaking into your home? There is disagreement among some Wisconsin sheriffs.
The dispute started with the release of a controversial PSA. The radio ad features Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke. Clarke is urging residents to make sure they are able to protect themselves, because he says, just calling 911 is not good enough.
But some say Clarke is discouraging people from calling 911 and that has at least one other sheriff in the state concerned.
"With officers laid off and furloughed, simply calling 911 and waiting is not enough," said Clarke.
But Dodge County Sheriff Todd Nehls is worried some victims might not call 911 because of Clarke's words.
"It's so important to call 911. Do not put out a message that says 911 is not reliable and not the first thing to do," said Nehls.
Nehls told FOX 11 officers have a better chance to help or solve a crime if victims call 911. He also told us by blaming furloughs and layoffs, Clarke is not taking responsibility for his job as sheriff.
"That's whining. I will tell you: I need more people. But as a law enforcement professional I will provide the resources I need to with the people I have," said Nehls.
In fact, according to the Wisconsin Office of Justice Assistance, the Milwaukee County Sheriff's Department handled 17 violent crimes between 2009 and 2010, while the Dodge County Sheriff's Department handled 59. That's likely because Clarke's department only has jurisdiction over the Milwaukee County Jail and parks.
But Clarke continues to defend his PSA.
"There's certain things you can and should do to protect yourself. It's always been my belief that personal safety is a individual responsibility," said Clarke.
Nehls said he supports citizens rights to arm themselves, but went on to say there are other steps people should take to protect themselves before turning to weapons only: steps like installing security systems, outdoor lights and locking doors.
"There's so many things you can do to deter your becoming a victim of violence, but going right to shooting to kill people? That's a stretch," said Nehls.
The public service announcement began running last week, but only in the Milwaukee area.
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