In his latest radio spot, Milwaukee County Sheriff David A. Clarke Jr. tells residents personal safety isn't a spectator sport anymore, and "I need you in the game."
"With officers laid off and furloughed, simply calling 911 and waiting is no longer your best option," Clarke intones.
"You could beg for mercy from a violent criminal, hide under the bed, or you can fight back."
Clarke urges listeners to take a firearm safety course and handle a firearm "so you can defend yourself until we get there."
"You have a duty to protect yourself and your family. We're partners now. Can I count on you?"
The spot aired at least once - during the last hour of the Mark Belling show on WISN-AM (1130) on Thursday. Clarke's spokeswoman Fran McLaughlin posted it to the department website on Friday. She said she did not know where else or how often the spot would be broadcast, or how much the department spent to air it.
An inquiry to WISN-AM was not immediately returned Friday.
News of the spot quickly generated feedback.
Jodie Tabak, Mayor Tom Barrett's spokeswoman, released this statement from the mayor's office:
"Apparently, Sheriff David Clarke is auditioning for the next Dirty Harry movie."
"Dirty Harry" was one in a series of films in the 1970s and '80s starring actor Clint Eastwood as Detective Harry Callahan of the San Francisco Police Department.
Jeri Bonavia, executive director of Wisconsin Anti-Violence Effort, said she hears "over and over" from most law enforcement officials that the community should work to "take more guns off the streets, not add more."
"What (Clarke's) talking about is this amped up version of vigilantism," Bonavia said. "I don't know what his motivations are for doing this. But I do know what he's calling for is dangerous and irresponsible and he should be out there saying this is a mistake."