The Times-Journal by Mark Harrison - February 15, 2011
A DeKalb County grand jury indicted a former Powell police officer for theft. Neal Sparks, 36 of Fort Payne, is charged with second-degree theft of property. Sparks turned himself in to deputies Monday. DeKalb County District Attorney Mike O'Dell said a grand jury returned an indictment against Sparks last week. O'Dell said Sparks is accused of stealing a laptop computer from an unnamed person's vehicle during a traffic stop Sparks carried out while working as a police officer in Crossville. In addition to formerly working in Crossville and Collinsville, Sparks was also previously employed as Ider's police chief. It was during Sparks' tenure there that an Ider officer allegedly used a Taser on one of the town's councilmen. The Ider Town Council unanimously voted to fire Sparks from the job last March, following an executive session lasting more than an hour. The Ider council had placed Sparks on administrative leave prior to that after an earlier vote to fire him failed. During the earlier attempt, "citizen complaints" were cited as the reason he should be fired in Ider. Sparks was released Monday on $5,000 bond.