The longtime district attorney for three West Alabama counties has handed over the reins to his successor.

Chris McCool prosecuted thousands of cases while serving as District Attorney for the 24th Judicial Circuit since July 2001.

He was sworn in at a ceremony in Montgomery Friday as a judge on the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals after having no Democratic opposition in last week’s election.

McCool then swore in Andy Hamlin, who will take over as district attorney for the judicial circuit that includes Fayette, Pickens and Lamar counties. Hamlin has worked as McCool’s assistant district attorney for 12 years and took over his duties while McCool was campaigning.

“I am forever indebted to him for the opportunities that he has granted me and guidance that he has shown me,” Hamlin said.

“We have traveled many miles together and prosecuted thousands of cases. It has not always been easy, as one of the unfortunate duties of being a prosecutor is dealing with the tragedies of life by trying to bring the guilty to justice and giving a voice to victims and law enforcement. It has been my profound honor and privilege to serve beside him during this time in carrying out these duties and I wish him well in the future on the bench.”

Gov. Kay Ivey appointed Hamlin to the position.

“I am committed to the job that I am tasked with performing and will work hard to demonstrate that this confidence and trust is not misguided,” Hamlin said.

McCool was accompanied by his wife, Sherri, at the ceremony. Hamlin was sworn in with his wife, Chelsey, and their children, Andrew and Elizabeth, by his side.