Former Huron firefighter hired as Colorado chief
Criminal past in Huron upsets new residents
Bryan Ware, 37, was named chief at the Beulah fire department this month when the all-volunteer department consolidated fire and EMS services, according to News 5 KOAA in Colorado Springs.
As the department's only paid employee, he previously ran EMS services. Council members hired him to the EMS position in 2010.
But after learning of Ware's criminal conviction in Huron for disseminating matter harmful to juveniles, the community of about 1,200 fell into an uproar, with some residents supporting Ware and others questioning his past.
Ware left Huron in 2010, after resigning from the Huron Fire Department in the midst of the criminal investigation.
The case involved a then 16-year-old old boy, who was a member of a soccer team Ware helped to coach.
The investigation kicked off when police learned Ware had sent a picture of testicles to the boy, which he said he also sent to several other people as a joke.
"I made a mistake and I've paid greatly for it and I've learned from it," he told KOAA.
Ware eventually pleaded guilty to the charge and was placed on probation, which was lifted in October last year.
Under the Beulah fire department's reorganization, several volunteer firefighters left the department. Some said it was in protest of Ware's appointment. Others cited safety issues within the department.
At a heated and packed council meeting Thursday night, residents asked council members and Ware about his past.
The community remains divided, according to KOAA.
Watch KOAA's coverage below: