Letters to the Editor

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WSH: How dare DSHS not notify public about escape?

Letter by Cheryl Gill, Lakewood on March 7, 2011 at 10:52 am | 5 Comments »
March 7, 2011 1:14 pm

Re: “‘Son of Satan’ recaptured” (TNT, 3-6).

I would like to know why the neighborhoods immediately surrounding Western State Hospital were not informed of a recent escape. Clearly the man is not “normal,” and there is no way the “experts” could have predicted his behavior while he had escaped their oversight.

He escaped at 10:15 a.m. on Friday. Western State is right across the street from a park with busy trails, ballfields, a playground and wooded areas. It is close to two high schools, a community college and several elementary schools. For authorities not to have notified the public is an outrage.

How dare Thomas Shapely, the Department of Health and Human Services communications director, say the community was not in danger?

If he had a wife who was at the playground with the kids Friday afternoon, or maybe a daughter running on the cross country trails in the park getting ready for a race, would he have called to warn them to be on the lookout? Or would he truly felt they were “safe”?

Without a public outcry, agencies will neglect the concerns of citizens. Public outcry kept a Department of Corrections work release program from relocating to WSH. Public outcry needs to remind DSHS that the hospital must be a good neighbor to the community and must notify the public immediately when its actions or lack of action puts the community at risk.

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