Deschutes Sheriff Shane Nelson fires two top officers

Says other internal investigations are ongoing

Two DCSO senior officers fired for...
BEND, Ore. -

(Update with more from Sheriff Nelson; other investigations continue)

Deschutes County Sheriff Shane Nelson fired a patrol sergeant and corrections lieutenant on Thursday, saying separate, unrelated investigations concluded their on-duty conduct violated sheriff's office policies.

Nelson said patrol Sergeant Dan Bilyeu was terminated after an internal investigation. while corrections Lt. Robert Trono was fired after an investigation was conducted by an independent investigator.

Bilyeu had joined the Sheriff's Office in 1995 and worked as a patrol sergeant for over a decade. Trono joined the agency in July 2002, officials said.

Bilyeu was placed on paid administrative leave on Feb. 21, the sheriff said in one of two brief news releases announcing the actions. He said he will release additional information from the Bilyeu investigation after the conclusion of the separation process.

"None of the policy violations in the case of either supervisor were criminal in nature they were personnel policy violations for our sheriff's office," Nelson said. 

As for Trono, Nelson noted the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and the county District Attorney's Office earlier concluded there were no prosecutable offenses based on a 2016 allegation of an improper firearms transaction. He was placed on leave Sept. 2, 2016 after complaints arose over Trono reportedly building a firearm for a fellow officer while off-duty.

Nelson said some details of the ATF investigation did shed some light on Trono's violations of department policy.

In both cases, Nelson said, "I expect supervisors to adhere to the mission and values of this office. They are to lead by example, and I will not tolerate a supervisor whose misconduct violates Sheriff's Office policy and sets a bad example for our Sheriff's Office."

This news comes as the state Bureau of Labor and Industries investigates two gender discrimination complaints and a harassment complaint which was filed against the Sheriff's Office.

Nelson said his office will release more information in a couple of weeks. once the two men's departures are finalized. 

He also told NewsChannel 21 his office has more open internal investigations ongoing involving other officers, though he said he could not be more specific. 

"The fact of the matter is, we employ human beings," Nelson said. "Human beings are going to make mistakes. What's important is what we do with it. Do we do the right thing at the right time, for the right reasons? And that's what we do. We look into everything -- and if we need to take action, I'll take it." 

NewsChannel 21 reported earlier, Lt. Tim Leak was placed on paid administrative leave as the agency investigates possible policy violations, as well as one involving Deputy Eric Kozowski, who ran against the appointed incumbent sheriff in the general election last fall, but lost. Those investigations still pending. 

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