Boulder County Sheriff Joe Pelle today said Jeff George -- the deputy involved in the Mapleton elk case who is credited with rescuing an elderly woman from a burning house Saturday -- passed a polygraph test that indicates he believed the Boulder officer who shot the animal on New Year's Day was authorized to do so.
"Jeff took a polygraph and was asked specific questions as to the truthfulness of his original statement and whether he had prior knowledge," Pelle said. "It was an exhaustive inquiry, and so far his original account has held true."
According to court records, Boulder police officers Sam Carter and Brent Curnow texted George on Jan. 1, asking him to assist them with loading the carcass of an elk Carter had just shot into Curnow's private pick-up truck.
While Carter and Curnow have been charged with nine counts and have resigned from the Boulder Police Department after investigators say they planned the killing of the elk and did not have permission, George was not charged or placed on leave by the sheriff's department.
"(George) is not going to be terminated or prosecuted unless some other new information comes forth," Pelle said.
Pelle said George from the very beginning said he thought Carter had permission from his supervisors to shoot the elk.
"They told him that their supervisors had authorized the killing of this elk because it was aggressive and he stuck to that story," Pelle said. "We don't have any contradicting information, so that sort of resolves the most serious allegations and concerns."
Last week, after Carter and Curnow were charged, Boulder District Attorney Stan Garnett reiterated that there is no evidence linking George to criminal activity in the case.
"If admissible evidence develops that warrants charging (George), he will be charged," Garnett said Friday. "But in the meantime, he is presumed innocent and should be treated as such."
The deputy, howver, still faces internal personnel discipline since he was not in his patrol area during the Jan. 1 incident and did not tell his supervisors what he was doing at the time.
"It's not unusual at all to be in the city, but the issue is taking time to help people on a project that took an hour or two," Pelle said. "It was a really poor decision, but not the kind of decision that would result in his termination."
This weekend proved just how important being in the right place was, as George again made the news for helping to rescue an elderly woman from her burning home on Jay Road following two explosions caused by a suspected gas leak late Saturday night.
According to the sheriff's office, dispatchers received a call at 11:28 p.m. Saturday of an explosion and fire at 5479 Jay Road, just outside the Boulder city limits. Pelle said George was on patrol in the area, and was able to get to the house by 11:31 p.m.
George arrived on scene and met two neighbors who said 83-year-old Marvyl Holder was still in the house. George was able to kick in the door and, with the help of the neighbors, located Holder on the floor and got her out just before the house was rocked by a second explosion.
George and Holder were treated on scene by paramedics for minor smoke inhalation. Holder is recovering well, according to a neighbor.
"It was a very close call," Pelle said. "It was a great outcome for this call. This lady's life was likely saved as a result of what they did."
While the house was a total loss, Pelle said both George and the neighbors, John and Claudine Walpole, deserved credit for acting quickly to ensure Holder was saved.
"The neighbors were heroic as was the deputy," Pelle said.
George could not be reached for comment, but Pelle said the deputy likely would just say he was simply doing his job.
"We hire people who have a heart for public service and public safety, and heroics are often defined by circumstance," Pelle said. "George has a heart for public service and I'm sure he doesn't feel like a hero...
"He just happened to be in the right place at the right time." ___