"Do not judge us by this," said Chief Bill Ford. "Please, don't judge us by this."
Timothy Bodkin, a 15-year veteran with the Benton Fire Department, is charged with 1,000 counts of child pornography.
"He's a good man," said Chief Ford. "Tim was a good fellow. Good hearted. Great hearted and it hurts us all."
When asked if his opinion of Bodkin has changed since learning of his charges, Ford responded, "As a person, Tim's my friend. I don't understand this. I can't understand it."
Investigators searched Bodkin's apartment, Friday, while he was out of town. They say they found more than 1,000 pictures of child pornography on his computer. Sheriff's deputies arrested Bodkin later that day at a North Little Rock bus station as he arrived back into the area.
Young children live on both sides of Bodkin's now broken-in door. 12-year-old Desmond Nash and his mother live right across the street.
"It's sad to know that someone in such a prominent position would even do anything like that," said neighbor Lavette Nash. "It makes you wonder and look at your neighbors a little bit more closely."
"It's a lot bigger problem than what people in this country realize," said Lt. Mike Frost with the Saline County Sheriff's Department.
"We'll take it a step at a time," said Chief Ford. "We've got to take this one step at a time."
Investigators are currently doing a forensic examination of Bodkin's computer as they try to track and trace where the pictures came from and who the victims are. They say more charges could still come.