BEND, OR -- A Deschutes County Jail supervisor was fired in April, despite being cleared of alleged weapons violations. Deschutes County Sheriff Shane Nelson says it was Lt. Robert Trono's actions during that investigation that led to his dismissal.
In 2016, a deputy filed an anonymous complaint claiming Lt. Trono was not licensed to build a firearm that he made and sold to a co-worker while off-duty. The ATF launched an inquiry in June and determined it was not a prosecutable offense. On August 31, that same deputy complained of job-related harassment, which led to an internal investigation into possible misconduct. Trono was placed on leave a few days later.
According to the personnel investigation, obtained by KBND News, Lt. Trono knew who filed the weapons complaint and spoke openly about the ATF inquiry with co-workers at the jail and subordinates, including the Deputy who made the initial report. On more than one occasion, the report says, Trono referred to the Deputy as a "narc" or "rat."
While the agency found his conduct didn't rise to the level of harassment, Sheriff Nelson says it did violate policy. "We want our teammates to be able to bring information forward and talk about it." He tells KBND News, "What was created here was the perception or the existence of an environment that could deter people wanting to report information; and that's unacceptable." Sheriff Nelson says he expects supervisors to lead by positive example. "We don't discuss active investigations; we don't discuss personnel investigations, especially with those that report the incident. So, it had nothing to do with the original criminal allegation. This was strictly a violation of personnel policy and procedure."
Trono was a 34-year veteran of law enforcement and had worked at the Deschutes County Jail since 2002. Sheriff Nelson says, "There's no winning in a situation like this. This is strictly taking care of business. The former Lieutenant had a lot of years of experience, was an excellent trainer and excellent instructor. But, we still have to lead by example as supervisors, and that's my expectation."