Charges against former fire chief head to grand jury

Published 10:32 am Thursday, October 13, 2016

Collins Chapel Fire Chief Shawn Carlisle has been charged with allegedly stealing more than $20,000 from the department. (Contributed)

Collins Chapel Fire Chief Shawn Carlisle has been charged with allegedly stealing more than $20,000 from the department. (Contributed)

By NEAL WAGNER / Managing Editor

CLANTON – A Chilton County grand jury will decide in the coming weeks if it will uphold a theft charge against the former Collins Chapel fire chief after the charge was recently bound over to the grand jury.

In late August, Chilton County District Court Judge Rhonda Jones-Hardesty bound a first-degree theft charge against Shawn Carlisle over to the grand jury for consideration. The grand jury will now review evidence in the case and determine if it will uphold the charge.

Carlisle, who is 45 and lists an address on Chilton County 50 in Clanton, was arrested and booked into the Chilton County Jail on July 28 on the felony count of first-degree theft of property. He was released from jail the same day he was arrested after posting a $10,000 bond.

First-degree theft of property is a Class B felony, and is punishable by up to 20 years in prison upon conviction, according to Alabama law.

Carlisle’s arrest came after the state Fire Marshal’s Office launched an investigation into the fire department, which is based in the Collins Chapel community and serves portions of northern Chilton County, in late May.

During the investigation, the Fire Marshal’s Office allegedly discovered Carlisle was “cashing fire department checks at a local business.”

According to court documents, Carlisle cashed numerous checks from the Collins Chapel Fire Department’s People’s Southern Bank tax-exempt account at a local business between Jan. 1, 2013, and June 17 of this year.

“Total amount taken from one account was in excess of $20,000,” read the State Fire Marshal’s Office complaint filed against Carlisle.

When Carlisle was arrested, the volunteer fire department began working toward reopening, and named Jay Littleton as its new fire chief. On Aug. 13, the fire department held a meeting to name a new board of directors, and held the first of multiple certification classes on Sept. 20.

The Jemison Fire Department covered the Collins Chapel area while the volunteer fire department worked to fully begin operations again.