PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — The race for Peoria County Sheriff is on.

Local candidates are finally seeing their hard work come to fruition. Monday kicks off the filing period after candidates have gotten signatures on petitions.

Now they can hope to see their names on the ballots come the June primaries.

“Filing begins Monday, March 7th, and it goes through the following Monday, the 14th. Candidates will come in starting at 8 a.m. to file their paperwork,” said Peoria Election Commission Assistant Director, Elizabeth Gannon.

On Monday morning, two candidates waited in line to take on the role of Peoria County Sheriff. Lieutenant Jason Buckley arrived first.

“About 6:45, something like that,” Buckley said of his arrival time.

Buckley is a 21-year veteran of the Peoria County Sheriff’s office. He said his main focus is combatting crime in Peoria.

“I did a lot of things that applied to the enforcement and fair application of the law. There’s a good need for that in Peoria because of everything that is going on with the crime. I just hope to take the experiences I’ve made during the time that I’ve been a law enforcement officer and apply that to make things better for the city and county of Peoria,” said Buckley.

Running against Buckley is Patrol Captain Chris Watkins.

“I got here at 7:30,” said Watkins.

Watkins has been with the sheriff’s office for 18 years and said his main focus is recruitment.

“I’ve been in charge of recruiting for a couple of years now. We were down 10 deputies a year ago and went down to four. Now we are making some headway, correction officers are still down quite a bit, but I got to really focus on getting those fully staffed, so that we can serve the public the right way,” said Watkins.

Filing ends March 14 for candidates in a run for elected offices.