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story.lead_photo.caption Special to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - 04-27-2018 - Eric Higgins

A former assistant Little Rock police chief will be the next leader of the largest sheriff’s office in Arkansas.

Eric Higgins defeated Maj. Carl Minden in the Democratic primary of the Pulaski County sheriff’s office race Tuesday. Minden conceded the race.

With all 137 precincts reporting in complete but unofficial results, Higgins had 15,863 votes and Minden had 13,073.

No Republican candidates filed to run for the position, so the primary is effectively election day.

The Pulaski County sheriff oversees about 400 sworn law enforcement officers plus about 130 civilian personnel, for a total of about 530 people, though the number fluctuates. The staff also manages a 1,210-bed jail, the largest county jail in Arkansas.

Higgins, 52, is a volunteer instructor for The Exodus Project, which provides tools and training for men and women incarcerated in Arkansas Community Correction. He served as assistant chief of police for more than a decade and retired from the Little Rock Police Department in 2015, after a 30-year career.

In his 20-year career with the sheriff’s office, Minden, 46, assumed many roles. Currently, he oversees criminal investigations, administrative services and media relations. Previously, he commanded the crisis negotiation unit and served as agency spokesman.

During the campaign, Higgins emphasized the importance of community policing. Minden said he'd focus on again providing school resource officers for schools in unincorporated parts of the county.

Doc Holladay, the current sheriff, previously announced his retirement from a job that now pays $111,875 annually.

Read Wednesday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.

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