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DA begins investigation of Garfield County sheriff

John Gardner
jgardner@postindependent.com
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado ” District Attorney Martin Beeson said Friday that his office is investigating allegations of misconduct by Garfield County Sheriff Lou Vallario.

“We are undertaking the investigation, and when we complete it I will seek outside review of our investigation from an outside jurisdiction,” Beeson said.

An anonymous e-mail sparked the investigation. The message was sent to Garfield County Commissioners John Martin and Tresi Houpt, and several news agencies, and alleged a romantic relationship between Vallario and a detention sergeant who worked at the Garfield County Jail. The message claimed the relationship resulted in impropriety and misconduct on Vallario’s part.



The person or persons making the accusations never signed the e-mails and always stated that they were unwilling to come forward or allow his or her name to be used as a source for accusations, according to previous Post Independent reports.

Sheriff Vallario responded to the allegation at the time as being “ridiculous” and “absolutely false,” and has previously said that he welcomes an investigation because there was no wrongdoing by the Sheriff’s Office.



The decision to investigate the accusations through the DA’s Office was not considered a conflict of interest, according to Beeson.

“It’s my jurisdiction and my job,” Beeson said. “I will seek outside review on a voluntary basis.”

According to Beeson, the e-mail message coming from an unnamed source poses a problem for investigators. Beeson said that he tried to contact the person or persons who sent the e-mail by sending an e-mail to the address on the message, but has yet to receive a response.



Beeson also stated that based on the allegations he did not want to burden an outside jurisdiction with a full-fledged investigation.

“I’m not sure (an investigation) is warranted,” Beeson said.

However, an investigation is currently under way, but Beeson did not know how long it would remain open.

“We’ve got to try and dig up information from people who know what is going on,” Beeson said. “We will do the job and not rush through it.”

Beeson added that he has received “nothing but cooperation” from Vallario and the Sheriff’s Office.

Contact John Gardner: 384-9114

jgardner@postindependent.com


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