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Former division fire chief gets probation for possessing child porn on computer

Brad Williams

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A former La Crosse fire department official pleads guilty to possessing child pornography, and will be on probation for 18 months. 

Former division chief Frank Devine was charged two years ago with possessing images of naked children on a computer, after a search by a national organization. 

After entering his plea Thursday, Devine apologized to his family and the community.

“Because of an addiction I did not understand, or realize that I had, I let that addiction take over too much of my life,” said Devine. “That is not who I am, or who I would ever want to be.”

The 54-year-old Devine has undergone counseling in the past two years, which was a factor used by Judge Elliott Levine in imposing probation.     

The judge said Devine has had “fairly much a flawless life, very productive, very kind, etc., except for this one area where addiction sort of took over his behavior.”

Devine’s attorney Keith Belzer says his client did not intend to keep the couple of photos he had downloaded.  

Devine was active as a division chief of the city fire department, supervising bluff rescue operations, until he was forced to quit the department because of the porn charge.

A native of Prairie du Chien, Brad graduated from UW - La Crosse and has worked in radio news for more than 30 years, mostly in the La Crosse area. He regularly covers local courts and city and county government. Brad produces the features "Yesterday in La Crosse" and "What's Buried on Brad's Desk." He also writes the website "Triviazoids," which finds odd connections between events that happen on a certain date, and he writes and performs with the local comedy group Heart of La Crosse. Brad been featured on several national TV programs because of his memory skills.