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Chadbourn interim police chief fired

Updated: Feb. 24, 2017 at 4:02 PM EST
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CHADBOURN, NC (WECT) - Less than three weeks into the job as interim police chief of Chadbourn, Rene Trevino has been fired effective Friday, according to town officials.

Trevino, 44, was elevated to the interim chief position on Feb. 5 after former chief Darrell Trivette announced his resignation. Trivette said he felt he "had limited control, but full accountability of the department."

On Feb. 18, Trevino was suspended for what he called "funny, sexual jokes" he posted on his Facebook page. Trevino said prior to his suspension he deleted his Facebook page after finding out someone took screenshots of several of his posts.

According to Trevino's dismissal letter, former Chadbourn police officer Ricky Soles on Feb. 18 emailed town council and Town Manager Patricia Garrell screenshots from Trevino's Facebook page. Soles was fired in September 2016 for comments he made on social media. Soon after, town council passed a social media policy for all town employees.

"[The email] contained photos and images that can only be construed as being of a sexual nature from Rene Trevino's Facebook account. After having viewed the photos, I believe a direct violation of our Social Media Policy had occurred," Garrell states.

In the letter, Garrell said Trevino initially agreed to step down as interim chief when informed that he would be suspended if not, saying "it would not matter in two weeks because he would not be there anymore." But Garrell said he "just walked out" when asked if he was resigning.

Later that morning, Trevino called Garrell back, saying he would not step down and that she would have to suspend him.

"He was very irate and vocal. I asked him to calm down several times, call me later and we would discuss. He insisted that I suspend him immediately which I then did, with pay," Garrell says in the letter.

Town council held a closed meeting to discuss the issue Tuesday, but did not take any action.

Trevino said he plans to appeal the decision at the town's next council meeting in March. He had been with the police department since April 2015, and was previously employed with the Columbus County Sheriff's Office.

Garrell said she informed Lt. Brian Anderson he would be in charge of the police department temporarily.

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