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 with 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.

Leave a comment Comments → 5
  1. I live about a mile from Western State Hospital and I feel the same way. I am absolutely incensed that our community was not notified this man was on the loose. Unlike St. Clare or St. Joe’s Hospital which are completely surrounded by densely populated residential and commercial areas, Western State Hospital is bordered on both the north and south sides with extensive wooded park areas. Someone could easily hide in the woods for days without being found, then venture into the adjacent neighborhoods at will.

  2. surething says:

    Agreed.

  3. Don’t just blame DSHS for not their job when come to notifing people DOC doesn’t notify people when sex offender move into 1 neighborhood

  4. Rollo_Tomassi says:

    TOOCAN,

    Is your argument that if one state agency screws up it’s OK for all of them to screw up? Is it your position that as long as DOC does not have a completely clean record, it is wrong for anyone to find fault with DSHS for not warning the community that they let a potentially dangerous patient escape?

  5. omega629 says:

    This guy wasnt that seriuos of a threat… he only blew up a car… then threw rocks at the firefighters trying to put it out. Seems like a normal well adjusted person who just happens to call himself the son of satan. I mean anyone normal person could have seen he was not a risk.

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