PRAIRIE CO., Ark. – Prairie County Sheriff Rick Hickman, who has faced criticism and been at the center of a year-long Working4You investigation, is retiring.

This all comes less than a year after winning his re-election.

The latest controversy comes after a letter from the prosecutor advising he resign.

“Kind of a shock,” Prairie County Judge Lawrence Holloway said.

It’s a phone call that Holloway said took him by surprise.

“It was kind of expected but I really wasn’t expecting that word,” Holloway said.

Holloway said Hickman, called him about his retirement, which Holloway said will be final at the end of the month.

“At that time we will appoint another sheriff,” Holloway stated.

Hickman’s retirement comes days after receiving a letter from prosecuting attorney Rebecca McCoy, who told him to retire after concerns about inmates being held on felony warrants, requiring a bond, were being released without having to post a bond or without a recommendation from the prosecutor’s office.

McCoy said she also had concerns about hiring practices.

“He’s got to follow the rules just like everybody else,” McCoy said.

Sheriff Hickman faced scrutiny, including calls for his resignation nearly a year ago, when he admitted during an interview he’s occasionally used racial slurs.

“Probably, in the past, but you know it is what it is. Everybody does,” and “I don’t use the N-word a lot but occasionally, I might have said it,” Hickman said.

One community member, Rick Dobson, said that the retirement was for the best.

“It’s something that had to happen one way or another,” Dobson said. “It’s best for everybody’s benefit. Benefit for the sheriff, benefit for the county.”

The city is working to appoint someone else to fill the role. In the meantime, the sheriff will still be in office until his official date of retirement on March 1.

Calls, voicemails and text messages were sent to the sheriff for a comment about his retirement, though no response was received.