The coroner is called when a death
occurs away from a health care institution or when there is any
suspiciousness associated with a death. He or she is called to the
scene to gather evidence and work with law enforcement, fire and
The coroner is then responsible for
death notification to the family.
The coroner's office determines the
cause of death. The cause of death is whether the person died of
natural causes, self-inflicted injury, homicide or accident.
In the event of a suspicious death the
coroner continues the investigative work with police or sheriff's
department detectives, the state's attorney, and forensic
The coroner conducts an inquest
presenting evidences about a death, and a jury determines the cause
The entire process involves a lot of
Three Republican candidates are making
themselves available to do the work of that office. Each holds
strong qualifications that would allow him to perform the duty of
the office well.
--Attended Southern Illinois University
Rural Fire Department since 1977 (27 years on the department)
--Currently deputy coroner
While Thomas is full-time with the fire
department, he works part time as grounds supervisor at the Logan
County Fairgrounds. He is eligible to retire from the fire
department and will if he is elected coroner.
Thomas said: "The fire department has
been assisting the coroner's office on scene for 10 years. I think
it is an interesting job. You have to do it professionally. You have
to be really courteous to the people. It kind of suits my nature."
Thomas has 27 years going to scenes,
working at times with other departments and investigators. As deputy
coroner he has actually been able to learn what the job is.
Thomas says that because he will have
the time, he plans to respond to every scene himself and with a
deputy. He said there are times when it would help for the deputy to
have help on the scene.
Dr. David Hepler
doctor of chiropractic medicine, providing health care for several
thousand local people
member of the community over 20 years
for three county board terms; currently a board member
Dr. Hepler says that he doesn't feel it
is necessary to make the coroner's job into a full-time job. "I like
the idea of people who have lives outside of local politics but
bring those experiences to that seat, because that allows you to
relate to the people that you are serving," he says.
"I will be available whenever called,
[just] as I am in my practice," he says. "I'm on call seven days a
Dr. Hepler says we have a Hispanic
population that would benefit by his ability to speak Spanish, and
he would like to have some deputy coroners able to speak Spanish
too. It would be helpful to those families and would aid law
enforcement departments also.
[to top of second column in
To contribute to doing the coroner's
job well, he would attend meetings of the county board, as well as
the law enforcement meetings.
Dr. Hepler cites his knowledge at the
county level as tying in with the coroner's office. He cited the
recent issue where an effort was made to allow bars to be open on
Sunday mornings at 11. "I was the only individual who participated
in those discussions," he said. "I feel this is an office that
allows you to participate in other ways so that we can prevent these
tragic deaths by using the position you have to help craft
legislation that is more pro-health and decreases risks for our
He says that serving on the board lets
people know how a person will react when the going gets tough. It
shows if you will stay with the integrity of your vote or decisions.
"And I think people know, whether my decisions have been right or
wrong over the years on the board, they haven't been changed by
those pressures, and this is an office that would be vulnerable to
that," he said
Pairing his capabilities and
experiences with the tasks of the office, he said, "I certainly
won't have any difficulty interpreting the reports. I understand
issues of conflict of interests. I spend my day communicating with
people -- the findings that they have, trying to explain what is
wrong, what's happened and what their choices are."
While this may be a different
situation, Dr. Hepler says, it's similar to what he has been doing
for 21 years. "I can bring those experiences to this office," he
and raised in Atlanta
County resident his entire life
years as medical technician with the Atlanta Rescue Squad
years in the funeral industry
years with the Atlanta Fire Department
"I feel like I want to give back to the
community," Peasley says. "The coroner is a highly respectable job
that requires a lot of work. I feel I have the qualifications to do
that process because for over 19 years in the funeral industry I
have dealt with families going through the grief," he says.
Peasley, like the other candidates,
also feels that the size of Logan County does not warrant a
full-time coroner. The salary is not there, but that depends on the
county board, the finances, county assets and the office also.
"Being a business owner, I can allocate
whatever time I need to work the coroner's office as needed," he
Peasley says he would retain all the
deputy coroners who want to stay and would try to keep it running
the way Fricke has. As county finances allow, he would continue to
look to upgrade things like equipment, cameras, computers that are
needed for investigations.
He would move the office from the
Fricke-Calvert-Schrader Funeral Home to his office at Peasley
for your vote, saying, "I'm very caring. I'm very interested in the
professionalism of the coroner's office, and I would make it run
Comments by candidates were made at
the "Candidates speak out" forum at Starbucks on the campus of
Lincoln Christian College.