On Monday, King, 63, the former state attorney for the 5th Judicial Circuit of Florida, took the oath to serve as an Ocala Police Department reserve officer. Before graduating law school in 1981, he served as a Marion County Sheriff’s deputy.
The position is part-time, with no pay. After completing OPD training, King will become the 17th reserve officer at the department, according to OPD.
“These are volunteer positions to help out the Department as a sworn officer,” wrote OPD spokeswoman Corie Byrd in an email. “They require the same training and follow the same policies that a full-time officer does.”
Reserve officer duties mirror those of full-time officers, including the ability to conduct traffic stops, assist other officers and respond to police calls.
King decided not to seek re-election in 2020 after 32 years as state attorney.
And while he and his wife Tammy planned a retirement trip, the COVID-19 pandemic, coupled with the adoption of his four-year-old son Oliver, changed those plans.
“I didn’t want to completely walk away from law enforcement,” King said. “I didn’t really take any time off.”
King graduated from the Florida Basic Recruit Academy at the College of Central Florida’s Criminal Justice Institute in February.
King said he wanted a post that worked well with Oliver’s schedule and even weighed becoming a school resource officer.
Ocala Mayor Kent Guinn, who oversees OPD, said that adding King to the department played a role in his decision to seek re-election for a sixth term as mayor. City elections are set for Sept. 21.
“To have a guy like that, probably the top prosecutor in the State of Florida, working with the police department, I mean, that’s just a wealth of knowledge that we can have. And I want to be a part of that. Big time.”
However, King’s role will not include offering official legal advice, according to Byrd.
“I’m sure his legal history and vast knowledge of statutes etc. will help him along his journey,” she wrote.