New Milwaukee Sheriff Seeks Federal Review of Jail

Richard Schmidt, successor to David Clarke as Milwaukee County sheriff, asked the National Institute of Corrections to review the county jail, where six people have died since April 2016, including a newborn and a mentally ill inmate who died of dehydration.

Richard Schmidt is the new Milwaukee County acting sheriff, a 61-year-old grandfather who worked his way through the ranks from the jail to the freeways to the command staff, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports. He says he’s not interested in politics, and he remains fiercely loyal to his old boss, David Clarke. But Schmidt promises to be less combative than Clark. “I’m not out to raise my platform,” Schmidt told the newspaper. “I’m not out to fight people. I am in a cooperative mode. I intend to work with every elected official in a positive cooperative manner. I intend to treat everyone with respect.”

Schmidt outlined new policies and initiatives, including a budget freeze to deal with a projected $5 million deficit and stepped up traffic enforcement. He said that the Aug. 29 death of a 51-year-old jail inmate at the Milwaukee County Jail is being investigated by the Waukesha County Sheriff’s Department. Schmidt said that under his watch, outside entities will investigate any death that occurs at the jail. Since April 2016, six people have died at the jail, including a newborn and mentally ill inmate who died of dehydration in solitary confinement. One of Schmidt’s first actions as acting sheriff was asking the National Institute of Corrections to conduct a review of all operations at the facility.