Former El Paso County Reserve Deputy Sheriff, Chuck Zukowski
Throughout the course of the television show, The X-Files, agent Fox Mulder was continually threatened with dismissal from the FBI due to his passionate and serious pursuit of supernatural phenomena, paranormal events and government conspiracy. This pop-culture series made clear that our government and law enforcement agencies around the country are not open, philosophically or intellectually, to take seriously the field of paranormal investigation.
One thing I pride myself in, is being honest about my investigations. Now I want to be honest about an event which developed not only from one of my investigations, but circumstances which arise due to media attention I get.
The following blog is about what happens when a person (me) challenges authority and now deals with the outcome. (I deal with the outcome by telling you.) At no time do I mean any disrespect to the fine men and women who work for the El Paso County Sheriff’s Department, I’m simply stating the circumstances which involved me and now letting the readers (you) decide if I made the right decision.
On February 9th 2011, two deputies from the El Paso County Sheriff’s department stopped by my home and relieved me of my badge, gun and ID. Most people visiting my website had no idea I was a Reserve (volunteer) deputy, since I’ve never blogged about it. My Reserve title was posted on my bio because I was proud of it.
The following are two segments from the termination letter handed to me.
“The termination is a result of you conducting paranormal and unidentified flying object investigations into animal mutilations, and then publicly contradicting and being critical of official Sheriff’s Office investigations in a public forum. Although you have claimed not to have represented yourself as a Sheriff’s Office Reserve Deputy, the media reports allude to you as “volunteer El Paso County Sheriff’s Department deputy.” This adversarial position, without having full knowledge of the information gathered by detectives, is unacceptable.”
The previous segment is referring to the August 2010 Rush Colorado Horse mutilation. The “publicly contradicting and being critical of official sheriff’s Office investigations in a public forum” started with an interview I did with Heidi Hemmat – KDVR Fox News Denver.
(URL of Fox interview is located at the end of this blog)
The statement “Although you have claimed not to have represented yourself as a Sheriff’s Office Reserve Deputy, the media reports allude to you as “volunteer El Paso County Sheriff’s Department deputy”. This is referring to news media who have picked up any stories I’m in, and then researched me.
The statement,” Although you have claimed not to have represented yourself as a Sheriff’s Office Reserve Deputy” is because in the eight years with the department. I’ve never conducted an investigation while representing the department.
Also in the segment with Fox News I said, “Local law enforcement, they’re really not trained to look at something like this.” And this is true! I’ve learned some deputies have taken a one week course on investigating animal deaths, but this doesn’t give them the experience needed to decide if it’s of a paranormal nature.
Generally when detectives are called to a potential mutilation site, they’re training involves looking for evidence which could tie it to possible human intervention which caused the death of the animal. This could make it a criminal case in which they would need to pursue the incident further. If lack of human intervention evidence is seen, (ie. footprints, tire prints, animal drag markings) then law enforcement representatives will assume a natural cause of death may have occurred. Without previous study in animal mutilation phenomenons, law enforcement representatives can make the wrong assessments determining the death of the animal. Lacerations in uncommon areas, circular incisions, missing tongues, lack of an abundance of blood, and strange animal behavior of the surviving ranch animals, are the clues ranchers see which points to a kill which they’re not familiar with. This may be difficult for law enforcement representatives to understand if never fully understanding the mutilation phenomenon.
So what type of experience does a UFO/Paranormal investigator have?
My experience includes years of research, interviews, conferences, networking with other animal mutilation experts, and my own investigations. I’m also in direct communication with representatives from Colorado State University’s veterinary lab on every case relaying information to them. The majority of my investigative techniques searching for clues of an animal’s death are also learned by talking to the ranchers themselves. They know the predators which frequent their property, they’re familiar with natural deaths which take down their animals, and they can spot the signs when pointed to something very unfamiliar to them. In 2009 the five ranchers for whom I investigated their mutilated animals had over 300 years of combined ranching experience between them! Manual Sanchez who lost four calves within a month’s time is a “third” generation cattle rancher! If he says he doesn’t know what killed his animals, you can pretty well bet, I’ll listen to him.
Simple communication between law enforcement agencies and animal mutilation investigators could increase the odds needed to find the answers both parties are looking for. Unless law enforcement agencies step up their investigative techniques by increasing the possibilities the animal deaths could be of an unknown nature, they’ll never be able to solve these particular cases. Also, the more law enforcement agencies disregard an experienced cattle/horse rancher’s opinion, the more often a loss of respect will exist between the ranchers and the agency. This is a direction I see time and time again. If the ranchers were comfortable with the investigating law enforcement’s assessment of the animal’s death, then there would be no need for them to involve the press and call investigators like me.
“Furthermore, when spoken to by Reserve Sergeant (name on file), it was suggested you refrain from conducting paranormal and unidentified flying objects investigations, which could be viewed as a conflict of interest if being investigated by the Sheriff’s Office. You clearly indicated this was not acceptable and you would not recuse yourself from such investigations.”
Of course I can’t agree to this. The department could use any type of UFO/Paranormal sighting including animal mutilations which were reported via 911, as being investigated by the department. I would have to refrain from investigating every occurrence in 2200 square miles of El Paso County which 911 was utilized. This would also exclude working with MUFON as one of their STAR investigators, or OpenMinds, or UFO Matrix, or or or…. Get the drift?
( At the end of this blog my termination letter will be posted so you can view it for yourself. )
Now some questions to ponder:
Is having a volunteer deputy sheriff running UFO/Paranormal investigations on his personal time considered an eye sore to the Sheriff’s department? So much so, that they want him out of their department?
Or, should they utilize his personal skills in the paranormal field?
How about just generally asking:
Should law enforcement personnel acting out of uniform in a non official position be restricted from contradicting statements released by their departments?
Imagine what would happen if our own congressional men and women were terminated for publicly disagreeing with the president who is within their own political party? Could this be a violation of the First Amendment? Freedom of Speech?
Law Enforcement agencies along with some high courts generally make it tougher for police officers who cry 1stAmendment, as a relevant argument. Most cases I’ve read side with the department not the police officer when the statements made by the officer are offensive to the department. This protects the integrity of their department.
So is disagreeing with the Sheriff’s department’s assumptions on a horse mutilation considered so detrimental to the department’s integrity, that it constitutes a dismissal?
Now in my defense:
When I was confronted by the sergeant about this incident, I asked to talk with my commander to explain my position. I also requested to give a lecture on animal mutilations to the deputies who investigate animal deaths so we could compare notes. This would have also given me the opportunity to find out if I was stepping over an invisible boundary.
A meeting was never granted, my sergeant never had updates when I confronted him, and I never received the opportunity to defend myself. Well so much for the First Amendment and the 14th Amendment as well (Denial of Rights to Represent Yourself Properly).
After receiving the termination letter, I emailed the Sheriff’s office in my defense. As of the writing of this blog, I have not received a response from them.
I’ve worked as a volunteer with EPSO for over eight years along side some of the best deputies in the state of Colorado. On duty I would have laid my life on the line for them, and they would have done the same for me. I’ve never had any type of conflicts with the deputies I’ve worked with, and they’ve never had any negative comments about me. (As far as I know.)
Now back to animal mutilations. There have been law enforcement agencies who have investigated cattle mutilations in the past and who have stepped up to the challenge. The following are just to name a few.
April 7th, 1993 the Fyffe Police Department, Fyffe, Alabama released a press conference about 30 animals which had been discovered dead in pastures with various internal and external organs missing.
March 28th, 1997, the State of Florida formed a task force to investigate mysterious wounds found on cattle in Brevard, Seminole, Lake and St. Lucie counties.
August 11th, 2001, Police in Montana investigating cattle mutilations were so frustrated with their lack of progress, that they asked the National Institute for Discovery Science, a Nevada research institute dedicated to the study of anomalies, for help. (Great Falls Tribune article)
So there are law enforcement agencies which are quite concerned about mutilation cases. Remember, since the media release of Snippy (Lady) the horse’s mutilation near Alamosa Colorado in 1967, there have not been anyone caught, tried and convicted of any mutilation crime. And just for the record, the Rush horse mutilation wounds were very similar to the 1967 case. Of course law enforcement wouldn’t have known that unless they studied previous mutilation cases.
So what do you think, did I make the right decision?
(Fox news website link on the Rush Horse mutilation.)
(My El Paso County Sheriff’s department termination letter.)
Read the original post on the Rush Mutilation here.
*******Update 03/02/11: News First 5 Press Coverage*************************************
News First 5 Covers This Story
Read the article at: http://www.newsfirst5.com/news/exclusive-deputy-fired-over-ufo-investigation/
Watch News Coverage at: http://www.newsfirst5.com/player/?video_id=6202