Vallario’s standing depends upon whom he hires as jail commander |

Vallario’s standing depends upon whom he hires as jail commander

Post Independent
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

The investigation is over, the report has been perused and published, and now, the past is in the rearview mirror.

But for Sheriff Lou Vallario, the future needs to be different than the past.

Vallario and his office came under scrutiny when an anonymous e-mail accused him of improprieties over a sexual relationship he was having with a jail detention officer.

The 9th Judicial District was in charge of the investigation, and DA Martin Beeson was very clear when he announced that Vallario had been exonerated.

“The investigation is now complete, and it’s our conclusion that there is no credible evidence to indicate ” at all ” that these two persons have engaged in any criminal activity,” Beeson said.

It was determined through the investigation that the anonymous e-mail was sent by two former employees ” former jail commander Scott Dawson and former corporal Al Walker.

Vallario has a right to be upset about former employees calling him out, and he should be satisfied with the investigation’s findings; however, it’s now his job to get control of the jail staffing and management situation. And that will come from whom he hires as the new jail commander.

This new hire is vital to restoring morale and trust among the staff at the jail as well as throughout the entire Sheriff’s Office.

Vallario told the Post Independent in March that he will be looking outside the Sheriff’s Office to fill the job, because there is no one on this current staff who is qualified for the position.

“I feel that we need a fresh face with new and different ideas, not a continuation of how we have been operating,” Vallario said at that time.

We appreciate that Vallario recognizes the importance of bringing in an outside person.

Yes, the investigation exonerated Vallario of wrongdoing, but the report painted a disturbing picture of what was going on within the walls of the Garfield County Jail.

The 270-page report, filed by District Attorney Chief Investigator Beth Bascom, included interviews with 16 current and former employees of the Garfield County Sheriff’s Office including Vallario, the detention sergeant, Dawson and Walker.

The investigation found that there were failures in management and confusion among the ranks concerning protocol.

A big part of the allegations centered on vacations and possible time card discrepancies concerning the detention officer who was having a relationship with Vallario.

Regardless of what the investigation determined, we feel that there were questionable things happening at the jail during this time.

That’s what the new jail commander must address once he or she is hired. This is a new starting point for the jail, and the new commander will need to take control of the situation and focus on improving the quality of management.

Vallario and the jail have been at the center of controversy for several years now, thanks to a handful of ACLU and personnel lawsuits.

Part of that comes with the territory. There will be disgruntled employees, there will be unhappy inmates, but this is still a trend that we find disturbing.

The multiple problems and situations with the jail have left many unhappy and distrustful of Vallario. As an elected official, he ultimately will be accountable to the voters in a couple of years.

For now, though, it’s time to move forward. That means hiring the most qualified and best person to take over as jail commander.

The right hire will greatly improve Vallario’s standing within the walls of the jail as well as with the public.

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