JACKSON COUNTY, Ala (WHNT) — There’s a new sheriff in town, but he’s not new to the area or even new to the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office.
Rocky Harnen, a graduate of Scottsboro High School, began his law enforcement career as a police officer in 1982.
Over the next 30 years, he would serve as a Vice & Narcotics Investigator and Special Agent to the Drugs Enforcement Administration (DEA) in both Alabama and California.
He returned to Jackson County to work as Chief Deputy in 2012.
Now, he’s the Jackson County Sheriff, replacing Chuck Phillips after 17 years of service.
“When he asked me to be his chief deputy I said ‘I don’t know anything about a sheriff’s office’ and he [Chuck Phillips] lied to me,” Harnen recalled, “And he said I can teach you everything you need to know in three months. Well, that wasn’t true, it took a little longer than that. Listen I’m one that thinks we have to keep learning every day I’m still learning but I think he’s taught me everything I need to know.”
He spent his first days on duty crowded with paperwork and surrounded by eager deputies and residents waiting to say hello to the new sheriff.
“The overwhelming support from texts and calls and emails has just been very nice I’ve really had an emotional weekend answering those texts and calls,” Harnen said.
And he’s strapped and ready to serve as sheriff to the community that raised him.
“Don’t you want to come home to help the people that helped raise you, and that kind of touched my heart, and I really want to help do that,” Harnen said.