MORRIS – The Eagle’s Hall was filled with smiling faces and laughter Tuesday evening as newly-elected Republican Grundy County Sherrif’s candidate Ken Briley watched the winning votes roll in.
“I’m excited. It’s been a lot of hard work, and hard work pays off,” Briley said. “I’m honored. I’m humbled. It’s been a privilege to work for the citizens of Grundy County.”
Briley defeated fellow Republican Ron Marx to win a seat in the general election. With 42 of 42 precincts reporting, Briley had 2,356 votes and Marx had 1,631, according to the unofficial results from the Grundy County Clerk’s office.
The sheriff’s seat has been filled by a Democrat for more than 40 years, according to the Grundy County Clerk and Recorder’s office. Briley will face Democrat Kevin Callahan in the Nov. 3 general election. Callahan was appointed sheriff in January 2013 after the death of Sheriff Terry Marketti.
“We got a lot of work ahead of us. We’ve got to regroup,” Briley said. “Kevin Callahan will be a strong opponent. He’s a a very well-respected law enforcement officer. I look forward to my challenge with him.”
Briley is the director of the Minooka Emergency Management Agency and a full-time officer for Minooka police. He previously served as the warden of Stateville Correctional Center and continues to serve as a part-time officer for the Morris and Coal City police departments. He also worked 10 years as a fireman in Plainfield.
“The main thing for me is to get my message out to the people and let them know I have a plan for the county,” Briley said. “We want to raise the integrity level, make sure the sheriff’s office is accredited.”
Briley added that he wants to look at spending in the sheriff’s department and conduct an audit of the jail.
Briley beat out Marx who ran for the sheriff’s seat against Marketti in 2010.
“I concede to him, it’s what the voters who showed up wanted,” Marx said. “I think all of the candidates are disappointed with the low turnout.”
Marx is the lieutenant and director of training for the Morris Fire Protection and Ambulance District and is a certified paramedic. He retired from the Naperville Fire Department after 20 years of service. Before working in Naperville, he began his career serving five years as a Morris police officer while also serving as a paramedic.
“I won’t run for anything again,” Marx said. “I’m done. I wanted to make a change and I’m hopeful that those changes will still happen.”