JACKSON COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) — Alabama Governor Kay Ivey has appointed a new ‘sheriff in town’ for Jackson County.

“Rocky” Harnen said he received a phone call from Gov. Ivey on Thursday afternoon to inform him of the decision. Sheriff Chuck Phillips retired from the position effective April 1.

Harnen was appointed as the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office’s Chief Deputy in March 2012, though no stranger to law enforcement. He began his career in 1982 as a Police Officer in Anniston, Alabama, later serving as a Vice and Narcotics Investigator.

In 1986, Harnen was commissioned as a Special Agent for the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) where he spent time working in the Los Angeles, CA., Riverside, CA., Birmingham, AL., and Huntsville, AL DEA Offices.

Harnen attended the Northeast Alabama Law Enforcement Academy and the DEA Basic Agent Academy in Quantico, VA.

A graduate of Scottsboro High School and Jacksonville State University, Harnen has garnered over 1,000 hours of advanced training classes and remains a certified firearms instructor, tactical instructor, Clandestine Laboratory Investigations Instructor, and basic emergency medical technician (EMT).

Following the official announcement on Friday, Harnen had the following to say:

First, let me take this opportunity to thank Governor Ivey for having the confidence in me to appoint me to this position. I understand how important this new role will be and am truly humbled and excited to step into the position as your Jackson County Sheriff. I can assure the citizens of Jackson County that I will continue to uphold the high standards that this Office requires. Know that I will work tirelessly to protect the citizens of Jackson County and will continue to uphold the Constitution of the State of Alabama and the United States.

Second, I want to thank Sheriff Phillips for his leadership and guidance over the past 12 years as I have served under him as his Chief Deputy. He has taught me so much about the Sheriff’s Office and I look forward to this new challenge.

Lastly, but most importantly, I want to thank all of the employees of the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office and the County Jail. Although they are often understaffed and overworked, they continue to diligently and selflessly protect and serve the Citizens of this County. These employees are a vital and integral part of this office and I will ask them for their continued dedication as we move forward.

Jackson Co. Sheriff “Rocky” Harnen

Sheriff Harnen is a member of multiple committees, serving on the Advisory Board for the Jackson County Drug Court and the Northeast Alabama Community College Law Enforcement School, and is also the Vice President of the Alabama Narcotic Officer’s Association.