Local Spotlight: Former SPD officer Rob Bone
Published November 22, 2019
Picture the Town of Silverthorne in the early 1990s: The population was less than half of what it is today, the Silverthorne Recreation Center was just being built, and locals frequented the Old Dillon Inn’s original incarnation on a Friday night.
Then, as now, the Silverthorne Police Department worked to serve and protect the Town. And Silverthorne PD’s leadership was nurturing a young officer, Rob Bone, who credits Silverthorne for launching the law enforcement career that led him to join the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in 2001.
Rob looks back fondly on his time in Silverthorne. He lived on Buffalo Mountain and could hike out his back door, walking the same landscape that graces the Silverthorne PD seal. “There’s an air about the place,” he remembers. “The feeling of freedom and the feeling of being part of a great thing.”
Today, Rob is the special agent in charge of the Counterintelligence and Cyber Division of the Los Angeles Field Office. He’s one of just 70 agents at that level, out of 37,000 FBI employees. We recently caught up with Rob to learn more about his Silverthorne memories and his fascinating career path.
While growing up in Iowa, Rob occasionally came to Colorado on ski vacations, and the mountains drew him back as soon as he graduated from the University of Iowa. He packed up his Jeep and drove to Colorado with the skills he’d learned over the years as a college bus driver and rock-climbing instructor. Within days, “everything lined up,” Rob says. He landed a job as a bus driver at Keystone Ski Resort, and an apartment in Dillon Valley.
When word got out that Rob was also an emergency medical technician (EMT), Rick Garcia, Keystone’s Emergency Services Manager, hired him. On calls, Rob got to know some of the Summit County Sheriff’s Department officers.
“One day, a guy said, ‘You should be a cop,’” Rob explains. So for 16 weeks, Rob attended the Colorado Law Enforcement Training Academy at Colorado Mountain College in Glenwood Springs, every Monday through Friday. “I left at 3 p.m. Fridays and drove back to Summit County to work all night Friday, Saturday and Sunday, then turned around and did it again.”
The grueling schedule paid off when he graduated and Silverthorne offered him a job as an administrative specialist for the chief. The opening for Rob’s police officer position
arose when John Minor [now Silverthorne Police Chief] got promoted to sergeant, Rob remembers. “John got a new badge number, and I got his badge number, which was 22.”
Bringing Silverthorne with him
It’s easy for Rob to remember that badge number: He still has his Silverthorne badges hanging on the wall in his office in LA.
“I take those badges everywhere I go as a reminder of my beginnings in law enforcement,” Rob says. “Silverthorne was so impactful in my beginnings as a law enforcement officer. I always reflect on Silverthorne as a true reflection of a good place, good people, good community. It’s demonstrative of what America is. The people are genuine and kind. It was a great foundation for me.”
One of Rob’s proudest accomplishments in Silverthorne was helping to build the skate park in Rainbow Park. “I’m proud of that,” he says. “We had a problem, and we resolved it by doing something positive. Instead of writing tickets, we built a park.”
“Why not improve the foundation of people’s humanity, encourage them that there’s something better out there?” Rob adds. “That’s the real reason I’m a law enforcement officer. If you want your community to be positive, you’ve got to be a part of it. Colorado drew me there, like a calling, to be part of an amazing place. I still try to do that, to give back. Doing that empowers you to do good things, no matter what adversity is thrown at you.”
Taking service to a new level
Rob’s journey to the FBI started in then-Silverthorne Police Chief John Patterson’s office. “I was very happy with the SPD, where John Patterson was a mentor to me,” Rob says. “One day, he said, ‘I think there’s more out there for you.’ I’d thought about federal law enforcement, and he urged me to try it.”
Rob adds, “John understood my passion for Silverthorne but also saw my passion for helping others. He helped me feel confident that I could do more. Now I’m one of many FBI employees, but I’m proud of what I’ve done. It all started in Silverthorne, with good people who encouraged me to be my best.”
Rob started his FBI career in 2001 when he left Silverthorne to focus on international terrorism matters, based in Chicago. In 2006, a promotion transferred him to the Counterterrorism Division at FBI Headquarters.
He later served in Kabul, Afghanistan, in 2009-2010 as the acting assistant legal attaché, where he formed the Kidnapping Investigations Unit. Since then, with several more promotions under his belt, he has worked in Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., and now is back in LA. He oversees a team of about 150 agents who investigate counterintelligence activities and cyber intrusions throughout Southern California.
“Now that I’m farther in my career, I see new agents coming in – good men and women who are looking after America and keeping us safe,” Rob reflects. “I’m very honored to be in this position. It’s a lot of responsibility, but it’s a good responsibility.”
He pauses, reflecting on his time in Summit County, then adds, “I hope John Patterson and John Minor are proud of me.”