West takes oath of office for first full term

Published 7:16 pm Wednesday, February 1, 2023

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Lowndes County Sheriff Chris West swore to uphold his first full term in office at a ceremony held Sunday at the Hayneville Senior Center.

West’s friends and family gathered with state and local officials for the standing-room-only celebration to witness Judge LaShandra Myrick administer the oath.

West’s father, Terry, welcomed guests by describing the Sheriff’s character.

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“Chris and I have a good relationship,” Terry said. “I think you’ve got a great Sheriff. Chris is a nice person. He’ll do anything for people.”

Lily Baptist Church pastor, Fletcher Fountain, offered an opening prayer. Following special music, retired judge Milton Belcher delivered a keynote address and recognized how capable West’s “big feet” are for filling the “big shoes” of Sheriff.

“I know West as ‘Cuz,’ the little boy I grew up with in Elba so long ago before he became our pride and joy,” Belcher said. “We are related through blood and through D.N.A. I knew him when he was a little bitty boy, wearing little bitty shoes.”

Belcher described West’s military service as a U.S. Marine and credited West’s fitness for the Sheriff’s office to his military and law enforcement background.

“He has been ideally, beautifully shaped and sculpted to fit the position that he’s in,” Belcher said. “His more than three years as a Sheriff here in Lowndes County should have convinced all of you that the very bedrock, the very foundation of your Sheriff, is fairness, professionalism, and accountability.”

Governor Kay Ivey appointed West as Sheriff following “Big John” William’s shooting death in 2019. He ran unopposed in November 2022 and was elected to his first full term of office.

“Cuz, ‘Big John’ left you some big shoes to fill,” Belcher said. “But looking back so long ago to that little bitty boy with little bitty baby shoes and little bitty feet, I know that you are more than prepared to place your big feet into some big shoes.”

Afterward, West thanked his supporters and assured guests he would continue to “keep it country” to provide effective law enforcement to area residents.

“We live in the country,” West said. “I have a saying around the sheriff’s office, that within Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office, I want to keep it country. I want to embody that rural spirit that Lowndes County has always had, that small rural spirit which binds us as a family.”