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frequently asked questions

My most asked question: Why is the Coroner position Elected?

First a little history. The coroner elections began with medieval English common law, where the job of the coroner was to determine how and when people had died so that taxes could be collected properly. The system worked for a while, but it is different now. We have a big shortage of Board-Certified Forensic Pathologists in the US (roughly 500 and the average age is 52). It is possible for the coroner to be a BC Forensic Pathologist also, however with not enough to go around, the coroner system was created to address that issue.

In Colorado, there are 64 counties.The BC Forensic Pathologists are spread thin across the states, and Jefferson County is fortunate to have two working in our office.

My second most asked question:Can you really arrest the Sheriff?

I believe that is true….I can officially arrest the Sheriff, per the State Statutes. In Colorado, the Coroner has the same powers as a county sheriff to execute arrest warrants and to serve process and is the only county official empowered to arrest the Sheriff. When the Sheriff is for any cause committed to the jail of their county, the Coroner shall be keeper of such jail during the time the Sheriff remains prisoner. Also, if the sheriff becomes incapacitated, the Coroner is who assumes the role of sheriff and any other roles they hold in their duties, mainly because of the law enforcement nature of the coroner’s work and the fact that we are both elected officials. 

You can find more info here in the Colorado State Statutes:

Below are the requirements to be a Coroner within Colorado:

  • US Citizen
  • Colorado Resident
  • County resident of which the person will hold office, for at least one year
  • At least 18 years of age
  • High School diploma or its equivalent or a college degree
  • Provide a set of fingerprints taken by a qualified law enforcement agency and when filing an affidavit of intent
  • Nominated by a political party, filed for the office of coroner
  • A write-in candidate shall have a complete set of fingerprints taken by a qualified law enforcement agency and when filing an affidavit of intent
  • An appointed person by the Board of County Commissioners must submit proof of a complete set of fingerprints taken by a qualified law enforcement agency
  • Law enforcement that takes prints must forward to the CBI and FBI for conducting a criminal history record check and the results are forwarded to the Clerk and Recorder
  • A person convicted of or pleaded guilty to or entered a plea of solo contenders to any felony charge under any federal or state law is unqualified for the office of coroner, unless they are pardoned. That information shall be confidential, except the County Clerk and Recorder can disclose whether a person is qualified or unqualified for the office of Coroner.

Other requirements are fulfilled after elected including taking Coroner training and becoming certified as a Medicolegal Death Investigator by the Colorado Coroners Association. The Colorado Nurses Association developed and pushed through that legislation.

“The Jefferson County Coroner’s Office is created by the Colorado Constitution and mandated to establish the cause and manner of death for people who die suddenly or unexpectedly, or who are not attended by a physician at the time of death. The Coroner’s Office is also required to investigate deaths from accidents, acts of violence and other special circumstances.Many citizens don’t realize that the Coroner’s responsibilities extend far beyond the scene of death and the autopsy suite. We review thousands of pages of medical records each week. We work closely with hospice care professionals, law enforcement agencies and first responders, area funeral directors and physicians.Most important, we work closely and compassionately with more than a thousand families each year as they cope with the loss of a loved one. Often, our relationship with family members and friends may continue for months.”

I have been working hard towards this campaign and need your help to make sure I can be an effective leader for all of us! To do this, I must reach Voters! Every dollar you contribute will help fund this effort! Don’t let my opponents outraise me!!