Boulder police today released the final findings of the department's internal personnel investigation into the New Year's Day shooting of an elk on Mapleton Hill by two former officers, a 42-page report that concludes no other officers or departmental employees were involved with or aware of the officers' plans.
Former Boulder officers Sam Carter, 35, and Brent Curnow, 38, are facing nine criminal charges each -- including three felonies -- after prosecutors say text messages between the two show they planned to kill the elk as a trophy.
On Jan 1, Carter, who was on-duty, shot the elk near Ninth Street and Mapleton Avenue with a shotgun and Curnow, who had called in sick, came to haul the carcass away in his pickup
Carter initially told police the elk was injured and that he felt it needed to be put down. But Carter never reported the shooting to his supervisors, and a necropsy of the elk meat showed no signs the animal had been injured before it was shot.
In addition to the criminal charges, the Boulder Police Department launched an internal investigation into Carter, a six-year veteran, and Curnow, a 14-year veteran. Both resigned in late January before the findings of the investigation were published.
According to the report released today, a 12-member review panel unanimously recommended the allegations against Carter and Curnow be sustained, and Boulder police Chief Mark Beckner agreed with the recommendation and entered the findings into their personnel files.
But the report also said no other Boulder police officers were involved with or aware of the plan, and found that no other officers or employees should be subject to internal discipline.
While the report said some employees overheard comments from the officers about shooting the elk in advance of the actual killing, the report said "the context in which these statements were made did not lead those employees to believe either officer would
illegally or without justification shoot the elk."
According to the report: "Both officers were hunters, as were other members of the department, and would often talk about hunting, so this type of conversation did not seem alarming. Often, job related joking occurs at briefings to start the day, so it is not unusual to hear officers make statements in jest. As one officer put it, Carter was always making brash statements in briefing but never did any of the things he joked about."
The exhaustive report details the department's investigation into its officers, and chronicles the text-message exchanges -- many of which already have been published -- between the two officers as they planned the kill.
Both men are due in court for case management conferences on April 4. ___