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Central Wisconsin fire chief on leave after child enticement accusation


Rothschild Administrator Ryan VanDeWalle has confirmed that Riverside Fire District Chief Robert Bowen has been placed on paid administrative leave following his arrest this week.

VanDeWalle says the decision came after an emergency closed-session meeting Wednesday morning, adding that there isn’t much else that can be said at this point while the investigation and legal process plays out. “This is an ongoing investigation and right now we are at the preliminary stages. These are just [accusations] and obviously, there are two sides to every story.”

At this time there are no plans to move on from Bowen as the leader of the department, which serves both Rothschild and Schofield. “It’s too early, they are still accusations and we are following the correct procedures and steps. There is a lot to unfold yet and the investigation has just begun.”

VanDeWalle adds that the Village is cooperating with the investigation and at this time there is no reason to believe Bowen committed any crimes while on duty for the Department.

No interim chief has been named but VanDeWalle is confident that won’t impact service for the residents. “There are no hard deadlines, just making sure the day-to-day operations are in check so we can respond to fire calls, EMS. That’s not going to change. Everything that’s been happening will continue to move on.”

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