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Arbitrator rules in favor of fired Butte police detective

police car butte .jpg
Posted at 4:57 PM, Jan 19, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-20 16:13:02-05

UPDATE: 1/20/2022, 10:15 A.M. - Fired officer Rhonda Staton told MTN News that she has not had any disciplinary issues on her record throughout her entire career in law enforcement.

The information from the documents referenced in the story states no disciplinary problems from 2001 to 2017, her first 16 years.


BUTTE — Butte-Silver Bow County is challenging a ruling back in August that ordered the reinstatement of a Butte police detective who was fired in 2020.

An arbitrator ruled that former police officer Rhonda Staton’s termination was in violation the agreement between the county and the Butte Police Protective Association.

Staton, an 18-year veteran of the department, was fired on allegations of poor work performance and failing a fitness for duty examination. It claims she suffered emotional duress in 2018 brought on by stress, burnout, post-traumatic stress disorder, and depression.

The arbitration ruling found Sheriff Ed Lester failed to assist Staton in seeking help when she brought up concerns. Under the policy, Staton should have been given a chance to rehabilitate. The report noted Staton had no disciplinary record during her first 16 years as a patrol officer.

According to this clip from the arbitrator's ruling back in August, the county will immediately reinstate Det. Staton and make her whole for all lost wages and benefits going back to when her paid leave ended.

The county’s challenge to the ruling is pending in Butte District Court.

Staton also has a federal lawsuit pending against the department that alleges harassment and discrimination by her employer because of her gender.

The Sheriff's Office will not comment on the matter due to pending litigation.