Sheriff Clarke ordering 27 laid off deputies to work anyway

CREATED Jan 27, 2012 - UPDATED: Jan 27, 2012

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MILWAUKEE- A new lawsuit is in place and it pits Milwaukee County against its sheriff, David Clarke.

It will be showdown at the courthouse as Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele is trying to force Sheriff Clarke to layoff deputies.

On the one side is Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele.  He says he's created a budget that will bring the county back from a $55 million deficit.

But in order to do that, it means major cuts to the sheriff's office, including 27 sheriff's deputies.

But Sheriff Clarke is saying, no way!

Sheriff Clarke's ordered deputies who received layoff notices to show up to work anyway.  He believes those cuts will seriously hurt public safety.

"This budget, the county executive says one thing, and does another," said Sheriff Clarke.  "He says and continues to say public safety is my highest priority, yet his actions through the budget speak otherwise."

Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele told TODAY'S TMJ4, "A lot of this is accelerating suggestions the sheriff had already implemented and getting more efficiency switching from deputies to corrections officers at the jail and going to hourly from full time, but in terms of people on the street, the reduction is far, far less than that."

And to add insult to an already complicated situation, Sheriff Clarke has been quoted as saying that Milwaukee County has one of the most mixed up government's he's ever seen.

TODAY'S TMJ4 reports that those 27 sheriff's deputies have no legal police powers.