Sheriff Clarke Speaks Out

God is the Source of My Strength
By Sheriff David A. Clarke Jr.

This isn’t something I talk about a whole lot, but as I’ve been talking about my new book, Cop Under Fire: Moving Beyond Hashtags of Race, Crime and Politics for a Better America, it’s something that has come up. So here’s the truth.

My faith in God is how I make it through every day of my life. Without it, I’m nothing.

My worldview, my politics, and my strong defense of law enforcement in our country has made me a target for character assassination. Someone is always trying to destroy and discredit my reputation. That comes with the territory as a sheriff and I accept that. But believe it or not, it’s still hard and can wear the strongest of men down. Though my persona is something that’s viewed as tough and unshakable, I’m still human. Some days, it’s harder than others. That’s when I turn to God for strength. I pray for guidance, compassion, empathy for others, and strength to endure the attacks coming from all sides.

Here’s how I deal with it: I pray every day, knowing I’m guided by my faith. Only through the strength of God and the faith that I wear on my sleeve, can I get through this. I’m willing to put myself out there and serve; that’s why I chose a career in public service. It’s like Jesus said, he who wants to be great must first become a servant of others. That’s what I do, and that’s what every American law enforcement officer does every single day.

In my book, Cop Under Fire: Moving Beyond Hashtags of Race, Crime and Politics for a Better America, I talk about my upbringing. I was born in a Catholic family and my mom and dad sent me to a Catholic grade school and then a Jesuit high school. Later, when I was an undergraduate, I attended a Lutheran college. The belief in the Bible, to understand the Bible, and to be guided by it, began at a very early age for me and has sustained me in my life. It is a central part of who I am. Now, I’m not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, nor am I trying to be. The Lord understands that we are all sinners, and the good news is, Jesus offers us forgiveness.

Without that faith and prayer, I couldn’t get through this tough environment.

I also draw strength from those who came before me. Folks like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, John F. Kennedy, Abraham Lincoln, and even further back to the Old Testament leaders like Abraham, Moses, and King David — they all reached a point in their lives where they realized they were mere mortals and needed God’s strength to get them through. That’s what I have to do daily because without His strength, I couldn’t do this.

Sheriff David A. Clarke Jr. is the 64th Sheriff of Milwaukee County and is currently serving his fourth full term. He has appeared on many of the national news stations to defend the law enforcement profession.