Chief James Baker, who became chief in January 2012, said he knew Sgt. James Tarbell had been disciplined following the 2004 incident when he promoted Tarbell in March to lead the department's bureau of criminal investigation.
"I understood the risk I was taking and that this day would come when I would have to talk about why I have James Tarbell in a supervisory role in BCI," Baker said. "The answer is there was nothing at that time or now to suggest that he has not learned his lesson."
Tarbell did not return a call Tuesday seeking comment.
The details about the 2004 investigation became public after the Vermont Supreme Court ordered the department to release results of an internal investigation. The Rutland Herald had argued those records should be made public.
The paper's legal fight to gain access to the documents began in 2010, after officials revealed that a city officer had been investigated internally as well as criminally for possible possession of child pornography in 2004 but city officials refused to identify the officer or the details of the investigation.
No child pornography was ever found.
The documents released to the newspaper showed Tarbell was suspended for two weeks without pay for downloading almost 26,000 pornographic images over an eight-month period.