A `cheap shot’ taken in county sheriff’s duel | PostIndependent.com

A `cheap shot’ taken in county sheriff’s duel

Greg Masse

Garfield County Sheriff Tom Dalessandri said his opponent’s campaign advertisement about the Garfield County Jail published Friday is a “cheap shot” and is wrong.

That opponent, Lou Vallario, defended his ad. He said city residents have to pay twice for municipal jailings, and any law enforcement agency in the county should be able to lodge prisoners in the jail.

The ad reads, “It’s your jail. …”

The ad then claims that municipal police departments haven’t been able to use the new county jail since it opened late last year.

It also alleges that it isn’t fair that police departments have to pay a $15 a day fee per prisoner, plus medical expenses. Vallario said the fee should be eliminated.

“Why should city residents have to pay twice when your taxes have already paid for construction and operations of the new jail?” Vallario’s campaign ad asks.

“My point is, why do you even need contracts in the first place?” Vallario asked in an interview. “It’s our jail, and we should be able to use it.”

In response to the ad, Dalessandri said jail-use contracts have been signed between the county and Carbondale, New Castle, Silt and Parachute, but not with Glenwood Springs. On Friday, the day the ad appeared in the Post Independent, a municipal prisoner from Parachute was being held in the county jail.

“Lou Vallario’s tongue is hanging out in desperation,” Dalessandri said.

Other towns are using the jail, and Glenwood Springs is welcome to use it too, he said, but the city government hasn’t finalized its side of the contract.

Vallario countered that the contract was approved by the Glenwood Springs City Council on Oct.3, but won’t take effect until 30 days later.

Dalessandri said he’s offended that Vallario’s ad implies that it’s the sheriff’s fault that the jail couldn’t be used by cities and towns.

“It’s not the sheriff’s job, it’s the (Garfield) Board of County Commissioners and the county attorney,” he said. “Vallario doesn’t know what the hell he’s talking about. He’d better do his homework. He doesn’t understand this contract; that shows his lack of business sense.”

Vallario countered, saying county commissioners told him it’s basically Dalessandri’s jail and he’ll be the one to run it.

Responding to Dalessandri’s objection, Vallario said, “He said things maybe he’ll regret, but I’m not going to go there.

“Basically, I’m going after the guy’s job, so I can’t blame him,” Vallario added.

Dalessandri also commented on Vallario being a self-described cop’s cop.

“He says he’s a cop’s cop and that’s where he should stay – as a cop,” he said.

Vallario retorted that being a cop’s cop is fine with him, and he’s passionate about law enforcement.

“I hope he understands that as a challenger I have to point out what I see as issues,” Vallario said.

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