PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — After serving as Peoria County Sheriff since 2017, Brian Asbell is stepping down.

Friday morning, Asbell sent a statement to WMBD confirming his resignation from the role of sheriff, saying Chris Watkins will take over as Peoria County Sheriff.

Asbell previously announced he would not be seeking reelection as sheriff. He spoke about some grievances he has with the county influencing his decision. Although he did not go into specifics, he expressed concerns about planned budget cuts to his office in May 2020.

The full statement can be read below:

“To the Residents of Peoria County:

Please allow this letter to serve as my official notification that I will be resigning my Office as Sheriff of Peoria County effective 11:00 am today, Friday July 8th, 2022. In accordance with Illinois Statutes, I have submitted a letter to Peoria County Board Chairman Andrew Rand and other legal stakeholders identifying Undersheriff, Christopher Watkins, shall assume all duties and responsibilities of the Peoria County Sheriff at that time, and until a formal appointment is made by the Peoria County Board.

It has been an honor to serve the men and women of the Peoria County Sheriff’s Office and the citizens of Peoria County. I will forever cherish the accomplishments made and relationships built during this time. However, the last couple of years have taken a toll on both me and my family and I just don’t have “much gas left in the tank”. Major operational and budgetary decisions need to be made over the next couple of months and these decisions will have multi-year implications. The new leadership team of Chris Watkins need to make these decisions, not me. Therefore, I believe it is both necessary and proper to exit now and allow the future administration to decide upon these impactful, consequential matters at hand. 

I will be the first to say there are things I could have done better, but please know I gave you all I had, and did the best I could do trying to navigate the unprecedented hardships of the past several years. The future of law enforcement, corrections and other pillars of the criminal justice system will continue to face adversity and complex staffing issues. Please continue to support not just the men and women of the Peoria County Sheriff’s Office, but all first responders, essential workers and volunteers who serve this community every hour of every day.

Between the military and the Sheriff’s Office, I have over thirty-one years of public service, and it has been nothing less than a privilege to serve both our nation and community. Nevertheless, it is now time to concentrate on the job of husband and father, which unfortunately has become a secondary role while serving in this profession. Recognizing this, I will close by saying thank you for all the support you have given me in my tenure as Sheriff. I have been blessed to work alongside some of the best people this community has to offer, and I will remain eternally grateful for that.”

Brian Asbell, Peoria County Sheriff