David Clarke, the controversial sheriff of Milwaukee County, Wisconsin, said Wednesday he has accepted a position at the Department of Homeland Security.
Clarke made the announcement during a Wisconsin radio interview on Wednesday afternoon. He said he will be an assistant secretary at DHS’ Office of Partnership and Engagement, which coordinates outreach to state, local and tribal officials and law enforcement. The position does not require Senate confirmation.
POLITICO first reported last month that Clarke was in line for the job. Clarke said he’d be stepping down as Milwaukee County sheriff next month.
Clarke acknowledged that he’ll face a “steep learning curve” at DHS, but he said his experience as a sheriff will help him act as a liaison with local, tribal and state officials.
Clarke, a vocal Trump supporter, has come under fire over the deaths of several inmates at the Milwaukee County Jail, including Terrill Thomas, who died of dehydration last year. A grand jury earlier this month recommended criminal charges against several staffers at the prison over Thomas’ death.
DHS spokeswoman Jenny Burke declined to confirm the news, saying the department has not yet announced the appointment.
“The position mentioned is a secretarial appointment. Such senior positions are announced by the Department when made official by the secretary,” Burke said. “No such announcement with regard to the Office of Public Engagement has been made.”