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Public deserves a thorough, open investigation of sheriff

These are interesting times for Garfield County Sheriff Lou Vallario.

When the personal life of an elected official, and one who oversees a large staff, shifts into the professional realm, there are issues that arise.

That’s what’s occurred.



We agree with the county commissioners’ decision to send this case to the 9th Judicial District Attorney’s Office for further investigation. This case needs to be investigated to the fullest.

The public needs to know that our county sheriff is walking the correct line. Any misconduct from the sheriff is unacceptable.



Vallario has agreed and welcomes a full investigation. He says he has nothing to hide. Now the public needs confirmation of that.

It’s good that the DA’s Office will look into these accusations, but we wonder if an outside agency needs to be involved as well. The more that can be done the better.

Vallario has admitted to having a romantic relationship with a detention sergeant who works at the jail.

The anonymous e-mail that was sent to commissioners John Martin and Tresi Houpt accuses Vallario of giving preferential treatment to the woman he’s involved with.

Vallario vehemently denies all the accusations.

The fact that these accusations come from an anonymous source is frustrating. We understand why a person wants to remain anonymous, but there are questions that should be answered surrounding this person. This person brought the issue to the public spotlight, and now Vallario will face an investigation. That’s good. But we believe that the person making these accusations should be part of the investigation as well. What is his motivation? How is he involved? This person should also be held accountable to his accusations.

Rumors about Vallario’s personal life have been floating around for months. Now that the situation is in the open, it should lead to answers.

The public must know that Vallario has not overstepped his authority as sheriff. They need to know that nothing criminal was done and that his personal relationship hasn’t led to wrongdoing or favoritism in his office.

There are times when professional and personal lives merge. And there are repercussions from that.

The details are now on the table, the DA will investigate, and we encourage bringing in an outside party to advance this investigation.

The public trust of the Sheriff’s Office is at stake. Vallario has two years remaining on his term.

If the investigation absolves Vallario of these accusations, and he runs for re-election, then the voters will decide if he should continue. But for now, we need the investigation to find the answers.

The integrity of the Sheriff’s Office and the sheriff himself must be maintained. The public’s trust must be kept, and the only way this can happen is with an open, honest and thorough investigation.


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