Sergeant, DuPage County Sheriff’s Office
On the Record
Why are you running for the position of Kane County coroner?
I am running for the position of Coroner because I believe that qualified citizens should step up and publically serve others. After reviewing the situation of the Coroner’s Office over the past 3 years, I believe the office is in need of a qualified leader. I believe my qualifications, background, education and experience best qualifies me as that leader. I am committed as a citizen, husband, and father to making the Kane County Coroner’s Office the best it can be. I will retire from my current position and will make the reformation of this office my top priority. I believe only a full time office holder can reform this office. That is what I will be. As a current police officer, I understand that death is the most inconvenient thing there is, so I must be available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This office can be so much better, and if elected, I will work very hard to bring respect and honor back to the office.
What would your top three priorities be as coroner?
My top three priorities for the Coroner’s office are: 1) Re-establish positive relationships with all who have contact with the Coroner’s Office. I will do this by forming working partnerships with funeral homes, law enforcement and fire agencies, and advocacy groups. Additionally, it is important for the Coroner’s Office to treat victims and families with the utmost compassion and integrity. I want to reach out to our schools and communities through education and awareness programs. 2) Professionalize the Coroner’s Office through accreditation. This pro-active step will professionalize the office and ensure that the Kane County Coroner’s Office is utilizing the nation’s best practices. Accreditation will help to insulate the office from inappropriate behavior in the area of property control, because the procedures (and the consequences) will be clearly understood and outlined. 3) Update the morgue facilities by resource sharing with a local hospital. I have already begun talks with local hospitals and have received positive feedback on this issue. Additionally, I would also like to see the coroner’s office become a regional training center. This will be easier to do if the morgue is located in a medical facility.
How would you differentiate yourself from your opponent?
The biggest difference between my opponent and me is that training does not equal experience. I have proven experience. I have been in law enforcement for 20 years. During my career, I have conducted numerous death investigations on scene. While I respect my opponent’s career choice in helping with the bio-hazard clean up death scenes, by Illinois Statute, the Coroner is a law enforcement position. And my resume most closely fits the coroner job description. I know how to secure a death/crime scene, I am well versed in police protocol, and I know the procedures for securing evidence and property. While I do have specific training related to being a lead medicolegal investigator, it is my 20 years of law enforcement experience that makes me the right person for the job. The coroner post will be my main focus, as I do not have an outside business that may interfere with my public duties or possibly cause a conflict of interest.
Considering the issues that the coroner’s office has dealt with in recent years, what would you do to improve the image of the office?
To improve the image of the office, I will honestly and earnestly re-establish the broken relationships that I mentioned above in Question 2. Secondly, I will professionalize the office by seeking national accreditation. The International Association of Coroners and Medical Examiners (www.theiacme.com) has established an accreditation program that is very affordable and professional. I encourage anyone to go to their website and review it.
In your opinion, what is the most important function of the coroner’s office?
The most important function of the Coroner’s Office is to investigate death. That is what the citizens of Kane County expect first and foremost, and is what Illinois Statute demands. Concurrently, the Coroner’s Office should also educate the public and serve the county’s citizens in a compassionate, efficient, and fiscally conservative way.
Why are you the best candidate for this position?
I believe I am the best candidate for Kane County Coroner because I am the only candidate that has proven experience with certified training. I believe that my resume best fits the job description of a Coroner as defined by the State of Illinois. I have investigated numerous death scenes in my 20 years of law enforcement, and I have extensive practical police experience. I come from a very disciplined background, in that, I played college athletics, served in the military, and have made a career out of law enforcement. Additionally, I earned my Master’s degree in Political and Justice Studies while working full time and taking 7 years of night classes. My experience, leadership and discipline are what the Coroner’s Office needs right now. I am ready to take this challenge head-on and I am committed to making the Kane County Coroner’s Office the best in the state. I would appreciate your support! Check out my website at www.russell4coroner.com and like my Facebook page “Rob Russell for Kane County Coroner”.
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