Sheriff Clarke laying off 48 sheriff's deputies, follows judge's orders

CREATED Feb. 3, 2012 - UPDATED: Feb. 3, 2012

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MILWAUKEE- 48 Milwaukee County sheriff's deputies now face layoffs. 

Sheriff David Clarke is now following the instructions of a judge, but the battle of power continues with County Executive Chris Abele.

Sheriff Clarke, who for weeks told deputies to report to work, is now following orders.

On Wednesday, he issued a memo rescinding prior instructions, effectively paving the way for layoffs of a total of 48 deputies.

"County human resources now is getting the letters and numbers finalized, then we're going to move forward," said Sheriff Clarke.

But the legal battle is still brewing.  Attorneys for Milwaukee County wanted a judge to make sure the sheriff wouldn't reverse his decision.

TODAY'S TMJ4 spoke with four of the deputies affected by these layoffs and they're devastated.

Some were packing their belongings Friday and they're also afraid to go on camera.  They believe it's because a fear of retaliation should they get their jobs back.

Deputies' attorneys said the group won't go down without a fight.  Clarke's lawyers argue this step is yet another struggle for power with the county executive.

"He doesn't understand government.  The chief executive of the county of Milwaukee is not the same as the chief executive of a private corporation," said Clarke's attorney Michael Whitcomb

Deputies say they're ordered to turn in their equipment and their shield by 11:59 p.m. Monday.

There's an emergency meeting of the Deputy Sheriff's Association five hours before that deadline.