Police chief of Sparks arrested in Lawrenceville

LAWRENCEVILLE -- A south Georgia police chief surrendered to Gwinnett authorities Friday on charges stemming from a September 2008 incident.

Marty Robert Stafford, chief of the Sparks Police Department, is charged with felony false imprisonment, battery and obstructing a 911 call.

Details about the incident are sketchy, but Stafford reportedly tried to force his way into a woman's apartment in Gwinnett on Sept. 17, 2008.

Authorities said a Gwinnett County grand jury indicted Stafford in September and court records show Superior Court Judge Timothy Hamil issued a bench warrant Thursday.

Stafford turned himself in Friday and was released on an $11,200 bond the same day.

Gwinnett police spokesman Officer Brian Kelly said he is aware of the arrest, but said an official report was unavailable. Kelly referred questions to the Gwinnett County District Attorney's Office, which he said primarily conducted the investigation.

Messages left for District Attorney Danny Porter on Monday and Tuesday were not returned by press time Tuesday.

An answering machine reached at the Sparks Police Department did not accept voice messages and there is no phone listing for Stafford in Sparks -- a small town in Cook County -- or Adel, where booking reports say he lives.

Jade Bulecza of WALB News in Albany reported that Stafford returned to Sparks, but that his certification as police chief has been suspended.