Sheriff Retires, Introduces Preferred Replacement

Alpha Media's Ryan Piers

Tazewell County Sheriff Robert Huston announced Monday he will not seek a seventh term.

His 47-year career will end at the conclusion of his current term on December 1st, 2018.

At a press conference Monday, Huston admitted he was announcing his retirement a bit earlier than he originally planned.

“I had no intention of making a decision until this summer when another candidate started the race early,” he explained.

He’s speaking of former Pekin Police Public Information Officer Mike Eeten, who recently announced his campaign for Sheriff. At a December press conference, Eeten said he is running on a platform of improved “transparency, unity and leadership.”

“When you hear things like ‘it’s time for change, we need more transparency, more community outreach, better leadership’…what you are hearing is pretty useless double-talk,” said Huston, referring to Eeten’s comments.

Huston, however, remained mostly positive throughout the press conference, touting his team’s accomplishments, including establishing a local methamphetamine task force and building the Tazewell County Justice Center.

“This was a hard decision for me,” Huston said. “Facing the end a career that I have been doing since I was 21 years old is a hard thing for me to do.”

Huston then introduced his preferred replacement, Tazewell County Chief Deputy Jeffrey Lower.

Lower has been working in the Tazewell County Sheriff’s Department for 28 years.

“I’m here, I’m ready and I’m willing to take over when Sheriff Huston retires,” Lower said.

Lower was first hired as a Deputy Sheriff in 1991, spending his first eight years as a patrol deputy and field training officer in the Tazewell County Sheriff’s Department. He was promoted to sergeant in 1999 and detective sergeant in 2001. He was promoted to captain in 2006, creating the motorcycle division in 2007.

Lower was promoted to his current rank of Chief Deputy in 2010. Lower’s main responsibilities include managing the department’s budget and filling in for Sheriff Huston when he is absent.

“I plan to continue the professional training and progressive attitude towards the Sheriff’s Office,” Lower said.

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