PEORIA COUNTY, Ill. (WMBD) — Following the announcement that Peoria County Sheriff Brian Asbell will not seek re-election, several hats have been tossed in the ring.

Chris Watkins announced he will run for the top cop spot. Watkins is an 18 year veteran with the Sheriff’s Office, working in almost every division, according to a press release.

He is a life-long resident of Peoria county, who attended schools in District 150 and Limestone. Watkins is also an Iraq veteran, serving in the U.S. Air Force and Illinois Air National Guard.

“I have devoted my entire adult life to serving others, whether serving in the Air Force or as an employee of the Peoria County Sheriff’s Office, and I am confident in my abilities to effectively manage and lead this Office. As Sheriff, I would strive to make Peoria County a better, safer place for all of us to live, work, play, and raise families.”

Christ Watkins, Running for Peoria County Sheriff

Watkins has been a part of the Family Core Board of Directors, and in 2021, he earned the 40 Leaders Under 40 award.

Watkins will run against current Peoria County Sheriff Deputy, Blaine Duhs.

On a Facebook page promoting his campaign, Duhs says he has been with the Sheriff’s Office since 2001 and an Auxillary Deputy, then a Deputy Sheriff in 2003.

“As Peoria County Sheriff, my mission will be to protect and serve the people of Peoria County through quality-of-life policing. Committed to upholding and protecting the United States Constitution and Illinois Constitution, I will take a tough approach on preventing crime and resolving civil disorder, all while safeguarding personal liberties. By being involved in the communities I serve, and by increasing levels of professional performance through training, education, and communication, it is my mission to secure and maintain safe communities through our department’s quality-of-life policing practices. I am committed to this mission, and vow my dedication to the communities I serve.”

Blaine Duhs, Running for Peoria County Sheriff