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Being a dad, having worked for social services, being certified in First Aid/CPR and following the abuse of power across the nation from our “peace officers” (title before police officers), I am greatly disturbed but, sadly, not surprised by the unnecessary reaction by Sheriff Lou Vallario to invade a family’s home to investigate a nonthreatening injury. No father wants to pay unnecessary medical costs for an examination that he may perform himself. In this case, Tom Shiflett had medical training and was completely capable of correctly assessing the injury. Anyone having taken a First Aid/CPR class knows that you must ask permission of the parent of an injured minor before giving care. The medical examiner, not used to having people exercise their right to refuse care, got defensive. This was the first domino to drop. The doctor said in the end, “the boy needs Tylenol, fluids and ice,” hardly “life threatening,” which is the requirement for getting CPS involved. Child Protection Services deal continuously with thugs, drugs and neglect: This is their world. Like police, CPS tend to look at people through this lens, so this is how CPS took the situation further, thus dropping the second domino. The action of Sheriff Lou Vallario to bring in a SWAT team is akin to a police-state mentality. Unfortunately, this is happening all over the country. Just last month a lady was tasered by Daytona Beach Police after being accusing of using a stolen credit card; the card was hers. In Atlanta, an elderly lady was shot to death during a police raid because the police did not say they had a warrant and she grabbed a gun to defend herself; the police had the wrong house. Fortunately, we Americans do have rights. In this situation, the only recourse the Shiflett family has is to sue the Garfield County Sheriff’s Department. Only by hitting their operating budget will this kind of rabid abuse of power be questioned before being carried out. Jeremy SasserCollinsTwin Falls, ID

Maybe we should change the name of Apple Tree Park to Ruby Ridge. Sheriff Lou Vallario said in the latest article that the All Hazards Response Team announced its presence and asked for the door to be opened before breaking it in. The fact that they were in full SWAT gear makes me wonder about that. The way the situation was handled seems like the way a convicted criminal would be approached, not a law-abiding citizen who has raised 10 kids. It seems like the law enforcement has forgotten that this is a small town in America, not Baghdad. I raised two children that are grown now, and if my door had been broken into every time they got cut, scraped, bruised, burned, or got a black eye, we would be broke from buying new doors. It seems like at the very least, the sheriff and everyone involved owes the Shifletts a public apology. When the sheriff said Shiflett had a violent past and that he had chased a person down the street with an ax, it just added slander to the pile. The charges were dropped, and a person is innocent until proven guilty. But that’s just my opinion, I wasn’t there.Gary OliveGlenwood Springs


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