PEORIA — Brian Asbell will likely be able to take the "interim" off his title next Thursday night.
Peoria County Board chairman Andrew Rand announced Friday that he intends to recommend Asbell be appointed sheriff to replace Mike McCoy, who left at the end of June to serve as Washington police chief.
He's the unanimous choice of a committee — Rand and board members Stephen Morris and Jim Fennell, who are both members of Asbell's Republican Party — created to review applicants. Three people sought the post.
"Mr. Asbell has all the qualities the committee expected a replacement sheriff should have," Rand said Friday morning. "Probably one of the more strongly rated considerations was institutional knowledge (of the department)."
As the top-ranking official in the sheriff's office succession plan, Asbell, the former jail superintendent, has held the job on a temporary basis, but the County Board is required to approve someone to formally take over the position within 60 days of a vacancy.
If approved at Thursday's board meeting, Asbell will serve through the end of the sheriff's term on Nov. 30, 2018, though he has indicated an interest in seeking election to a term in his own right.
He and the other applicants for the position emphasized the rising cost of providing services, the changing needs for law enforcement technology, the use of deescalation techniques and financial management, Rand said, describing the office as "a complex operation with numerous responsibilities."
During his five-week tenure as interim sheriff, Asbell has worked on finalizing a budget proposal for the coming fiscal year, which he promised a county committee last month would be responsible while also trying to resolve ongoing issues including the reopening of the second entrance to the Peoria County Courthouse. The sheriff's office oversees courthouse security in addition to jail operations.
The selection is required by law to be of the same party as the departed officeholder — McCoy was elected as a Republican — and live within Peoria County.
Several others have either declared an intent to run or an interest in considering a run in 2018 as a Democrat. Current Bartonville Police Chief Brian Fengel says he's running, and ELITE founder and Illinois Central College board member Carl Cannon is mulling a run.
Chris Kaergard covers politics and government. He can be reached at email@example.com or 686-3255. Follow him on Twitter @ChrisKaergard.