It’s a new day in law enforcement in Peoria County and the Tazewell County City of Washington. Long-time Peoria County Sheriff Mike McCoy is officially the new Chief of Police in Washington.
McCoy was Peoria County Sheriff for 15 years and left that post Thursday afternoon before he was sworn-in as Chief of Police in Washington in the evening.
Chief McCoy says Washington has a good police department that’s most recently been led by two part-time, chiefs. He says he has four-year contract and that will be useful when it comes to sewing together some consistency.
McCoy says he thinks it’s just a matter of interacting the police agency differently with the city, “with the people, with the businesses and let them know we care for them.” He says it’s his goal to make Washington, “one of the most outstanding police departments in downstate Illinois and we can do that.”
The City of Washington is larger than it was before the 2013 tornado. It has a police force of 25. But the police department employs 45 people total including dispatchers and part-time workers.
Meantime, Brian Asbell is the Interim Peoria County Sheriff as of Friday. He adopted the reins from McCoy Thursday.
Asbell’s spent the last seven years as the jail superintendent. He says the transition is bittersweet. “This is a man I’ve worked with for the last twenty-two years, and now he’s turned over the reins to me at the sheriff’s office.”
But Asbell says he’s, “confident moving forward. We have a wonderful team at the Sheriff’s office, from the employees all the way up to me it’s a team environment and that going to continue.”
Asbell says the agency won’t miss a beat moving forward. He says he is well prepared to carry on the business of the Peoria County Sheriff’s office.
The Democratic majority Peoria County Board is still going through the application process to officially fill the 18-month remainder of McCoy’s republican term. McCoy and the Peoria County Republican Party say Asbell is best person for the job.