Aric Mitchell is the first civilian public information officer in the Fort Smith Police Department.

Mitchell, who stepped into the role Oct. 1, will maintain community, citizen and media partnerships, manage the department's social media presence and filling out Freedom of Information Act requests. He will take over for police Cpl. Anthony Rice, who has filled the role for the past year, according to a Police Department news release.

Mitchell previously worked at the Russellville Courier, Wolters Kluwer Law & Business and Talk Business & Politics. He is a 2000 graduate of Arkansas Tech University, the release states.

This hire helps refocus Rice and police Sgt. Wendall Sampson, who have handled public information officer duties and their regular responsibilities for the past several months, the release states.

"It has been an honor to represent the dedicated men and women of the Fort Smith Police Department over the last year," Rice said. "I look forward to working with Aric during this transition, and we are excited to have him as an added member of our team."

“It’s a great honor to serve the department and my community in this role,” Mitchell said.