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Sparks retires as Pine Level police chief

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PINE LEVEL — Following a 21-year career, Keith Sparks has retired as chief of police for the town. His last day on the job was Feb. 28.

To mark the occasion, Mayor Jeff Holt presented Sparks with a plaque and peers congratulated him during a Feb. 22 employee luncheon.

“I have enjoyed my time working in Pine Level,” said Sparks. “The citizens have been great and the town board has been very supportive and great to work with. Pine Level is a real good town and people here don’t mind coming together and helping each other out. I have been happy to call Pine Level home.”

Sparks began working part-time in 1998, went full-time in 2000 and was promoted to police chief in 2004.

Sparks, 50, is originally from Akron, Ohio but settled in this area after he and his wife served in the military.

He has been in law enforcement for 30 years, including stints with the Selma Police Department and Johnston County Sheriff’s Office prior to working in Pine Level.

In retirement, Sparks said he plans to stay in the area.

“I plan to get me a rollback and do a little towing up and down the highway and spend some time with my three grandchildren,” said Sparks.

Pine Level Police Commissioner Jimmy Garner, who has worked closely with Sparks, had high praise for him and his service.

“No matter who it was, Chief Sparks has always treated everyone equally,” said Garner. “He always went beyond the call of duty for the town and did everything we asked of him. It has been an honor to work with him.”

Holt thanked Sparks for his two decades of service.

“Chief Sparks has served our community well in various capacities and the current state of our police department is a testament to his efforts,” the mayor said.

“I have enjoyed working alongside him throughout the years and am confident he has always had the best interests of his fellow officers, his coworkers and all citizens in mind as he has made decisions that have (affected) each of our lives. I join my fellow commissioners and everyone of Pine Level in wishing Keith Sparks much happiness as he begins this new stage in his life.”