It has been announced by his family, that former Mineral County Sheriff Fred Trdla passed away on Dec. 14 at St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center in Reno.
Elected to the office of sheriff on Nov. 5, 2002, Sheriff Trdla edged out his opponent Dale Lauborough by 222 votes. He would serve in this position until 2006.
Born in Brownsville, Texas in December of 1939, Fred would be born to Fredrick and Maria Trdla. His father, the elder Fred enlisted with the U.S. Army just months before the birth of his son.
While working on a history piece with Sue Silver regarding Mineral County Sheriff’s, Trdla would come into the Independent-News and talk a little about his life.
Trdla would live the life of any Army brat, transferring with his parents beginning at the age of about 11. The family would land in Monterey, Calif. when Trdla was around the age of fourteen or fifteen.
At the age of 19, Trdla had made his way to Northern Nevada, moving to Sparks. Here is where he received his first encounter with law enforcement. In December of 1958, when Trdla was just a young father, he would be clocked by law enforcement going 60 miles per hour in a 25 mph zone. He also explained that he also failed to obtain a Nevada driver’s license even though living at the same address since the prior September. Those laughing events would soon turn serious for young Trdla.
In 1968, Trdla’s sister, Mary Alice Thomas was shot and killed while holding her infant son in her arms by Jack Elmer Summers in Reno.
Summers would be apprehended only hours after shooting the young mother and wounding a friend of Thomas’.
The shooting happened at the home of said friend, while Thomas was at her home planning a party for her four year old daughter.
“Recently released from Nevada State Prison, Summers was the half-brother of the friend’s husband and had been asked to leave the home days before the incident,” Silver wrote in her book Mineral County Nevada, Volume 4, Progress and People.”
At the time of his sister’s death, Trdla had been employed as a mechanic at Winkel Motors, but would become a Reno reserve police officer before becoming a Nevada Game Warden in 1975.
As year’s progressed, Trdla would continue in law enforcement as a tribal deputy in Fallon in the early 1980’s, as Chief of Police in Schurz – leaving around 1987 and becoming a Mineral County deputy under Sheriff John Madraso in 1988.
Announcing his retirement in 2002, Sheriff “Rocky” McKellip endorsed Trdla within the pages of the Independent-News.
Trdla’s campaign was clear. His policital ads were simple. “My only promise has been to you – the people of Mineral County – that I will work hard to give you a department that you will be proud to call yours.”
Eighty-five percent of the Mineral County Deputy Sheriff’s Association members, along with Sheriff “Rocky” McKellip and Undersheriff Ed Dyer extended their support for Trdla during that time. Only weeks before, Walker River Tribal Police had extended their support for their former chief.
“My only objective is to provide the best law enforcement possible and to make a positive difference in the lives of Mineral County citizens,” Trdla’s last political advertisement in November of 2002 stated.
When interviewed for the collaborated piece in the above mention book, Trdla mentioned that some of his greatest accomplishments within his term was obtaining equipment to enhance the sheriff’s office enforcement capabilities, including communication and surveillance.
After the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States, Sheriff Trdla was provided training on Terrorism Incident Operations.
Stating his high moments above, he explained that his worst days in office was “…the incident in 2003 with a man wielded a shotgun in Mina and the shooting of a man outside the main gate of the Ammunition Depot by one of his deputies.”
In 2006, Sheriff Trdla would again throw his hat into the political ring hoping for a second term as sheriff, but Mineral County residents would not vote in his favor. In January of 2007, he retired.
A U.S. Navy veteran with honorable discharge and former Mineral County Sheriff, Trdla would spend many years of retirement in Hawthorne with his wife, Beth.
Funeral services for the former Chief of Police of Walker River Tribal Police and former deputy and sheriff of Mineral County will be held on Saturday, Jan. 13 at 1 p.m. at O’Brien-Rogers, Crosby in Reno.