BUTTE — Undersheriff George Skuletich with the Butte Law Enforcement Department has seen a lot in 40 years, but now he’s ready to hang up the badge.
“It’s been a great experience; not every call’s been pleasant, but most of them have. Dealing with people, 99 percent of them are great, they just need help,” said Skuletich.
There have been difficult times in his 40 years, especially a plane crash that killed 14 people near the Bert Mooney Airport in 2009.
“It had an effect on me, I think about it almost daily. You close your eyes, you see that kind of stuff. It never goes away,” the Undersheriff said.
Being a cop was not always easy for his family.
“My wife, she goes on every call I go on. Every time I was called out for a SWAT call, I know she was awake all night long until I got home, that’s the life of the wife of a police officer,” said Skuletich.
Still, he cherishes the times he helped those who needed it most, like the time he spent three hours talking a man out of taking his own life.
“He was going to kill himself and we talked and talked and talked. In time, I got him to walk over to men and we got him to a hospital. And that’s very rewarding, that’s what you remember,” said Skuletich.
Sheriff Ed Lester gets emotional when he thinks about Skuletich no longer working for the department.
“I didn’t think I’d do this—you know, 32 years is a long time, you know, it’s not like he’s going away, but he’s one of those guys you can always trust. I know I can go out on the golf course and find him, but it’s difficult for me to imagine not having his counsel when you need it,” said Lester.
The Sheriff said in his 30 years working for the department, George Skuletich has proven to be a cop of the highest caliber.
“If somebody presented you a situation where you had to go through a door, you didn’t know what was on the other side of that door and you could pick somebody to take with you, George is one of those guys," said Lester. "So there’s really no higher compliment to a police officer when you say something like that. George would be one of the guys you’d take because you know he’d never leave you no matter how bad it got."
Sheriff Lester said the department is still looking for a new Undersheriff, but George Skuletich will be a hard man to replace.