Oakland Fire Captain Arrested on Suspicion of Possessing Child Pornography

An Oakland fire captain was arrested Wednesday on child pornography charges at his Lafayette home, the Contra Costa County Sheriff's Office said.

The Contra Costa Internet Crimes Against Children task force began investigating Richard Chew, 58, on Aug. 19, according to a statement. 

Investigators served a search warrant at Chew's house and workplace and discovered child pornography on his computer and storage devices, the statement said.

Chew was booked into the county jail in Martinez and officially charged by the Contra Costa County District Attorney's Office. Bail was set at $200,000. A booking document confirmed his position with the Oakland Fire Department. 

A judge was asked to lower Chew's bail, but he said the severity of the exploitation in the case was so disturbing, he couldn't release Chew, despite an otherwise spotless record.

Investigators said they also found images on Chew's computer at Oakland Fire Station 15.

According to Transparent California, the fire captain makes $300,000 a year.

Chew is scheduled to be back in court in eight days and enter pleas on the felony charges. He could be sentenced to as much as five years in prison.

NBC Bay Area reported that Chew recommended in January that a building on San Pablo Avenue be shut down for safety reasons, records show. The Oakland Fire Department opted for less drastic measures and in March, it burned down and claimed four lives.

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