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story.lead_photo.caption FILE - A Pulaski County sheriff's office vehicle is shown in this file photo.

Reporter Mitch McCoy is leaving KARK and sister station Fox 16 next week, but he’s not leaving Little Rock. He has taken a position with the Pulaski County sheriff’s office as a public information specialist.

His last day on-air will be Sept. 20.

“I’ve always had a passion for wanting to strengthen this community,” McCoy said. “There is something about this community I love. I wanted to stay.”

McCoy said he wanted to join the sheriff’s office because he thinks Sheriff Eric Higgins has a vision for Pulaski County that McCoy wants to be a part of. McCoy said he sees the office’s mission as not just protecting and serving the community but building it, too.

Lt. Cody Burk said McCoy will mainly handle social media and video production for the office, and Burk will remain the spokesman.

Burk said he hopes McCoy’s work can help promote the department, especially to help with recruitment. He said the office is short about 10 patrol officers and 20 to 30 officers for the jail.

“We’re always in need of recruits,” Burk said.

McCoy said he will miss the rush of breaking news and the chance to tell stories across the state but added he doesn’t feel like he’s completely letting go of storytelling in his new role.

“Working with the sheriff’s office will allow me to still do a lot of that,” McCoy said. “I’ll be able to help the sheriff’s office get important stories out there.”

McCoy will start part-time Sept. 23 with the department. Burk said McCoy will work up to 29 hours a week at a starting pay of $22 an hour.

Burk said that the sheriff's office plans to create a full-time public information specialist position, and that McCoy will be eligible to apply for the job.

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