Proposal in Co. budget includes spending to protect County Exec.

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MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- An item absent from the Milwaukee County budget for years was spending to protect the County Executive. Since he's been in office, County Executive Abele says no tax dollars have been spent on his own security -- but that could change.

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett was attacked in 2009 by a man wielding a pipe. This, as Mayor Barrett was leaving the Wisconsin State Fair.

The attack on Mayor Barrett started with a plea for help as he was walking to his car after a State Fair outing with his family.

Mayor Barrett's hand was broken in the incident, and suffered cuts on his head and lip.

Mayor Barrett did not have a security detail with him at the time of the incident.

The issue of security for high-profile public officials is nothing new, but it's unfamiliar territory for Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele.

Abele did not reveal the specifics of what prompted his request for security for himself, but did ask Milwaukee County to earmark up to $400,000 to pay for it.

If his budget request is approved, Abele said the County will pay the lowest bidder offering the most services. That could mean hiring a private business or public law enforcement agency -- including the Milwaukee County Sheriff's Office.

Sheriff Clarke's budget feuds with Abele have been well documented. Sheriff Clarke has said it would be problematic to have a deputy serve Abele when he or she should be serving the public.

In a statement, Sheriff Clarke said: "Abele denies the public $12 million in public safety services, and wants them to pay an obscene amount for his personal security. Abele should save the taxpayers and get a concealed carry weapons permit."

Meanwhile, Abele says he will look at all of the options available to him -- granted that the proposed County budget is approved.

According to the Milwaukee Police Department, the security costs for Mayor Barrett and other city assets runs about $400,000. However, $400,000 is only a fraction of one percent of Milwaukee County's budget.