Lee: Coroner’s office needs updating

Published 12:00 am Monday, December 6, 1999

Adams County Coroner-elect James Lee said he plans to bring the county coroner’s office into the next millennium in more ways than one.

Fresh from training at the State Medical Examiner’s Office in&160;Jackson Nov. 29 through Dec. 3, Lee said his eyes were opened to just how far behind Adams County has fallen in forensic investigation.

&uot;Out of 82 counties, 60 county coroners offices are computerized so that they can tap immediately into the crime lab in Jackson and report back to the crime lab — Adams County is not,&uot; Lee said.

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Lee said he does not blame incumbent coroner Hugh Tedder or the county board of supervisors for the condition of the coroner’s office.

&uot;Dr. Tedder ran the office the way he felt it should be run,&uot; Lee said. &uot;That was his prerogative.&uot;

After the new year, Lee said he will likely meet with supervisors again to fill them in on the information he received last week as well as his own investigation into how the office can be updated. State laws govern what is and what is not a coroner’s case, Lee said.

&uot;And there have been some new laws passed in regard to death investigation that (supervisors) need to be aware of,&uot; he said.

At the conclusion of the training, both Lee and his deputy coroner Rosie Newman left Jackson as certified coroners.

&uot;Rosie did fine,&uot; Lee said, despite the fact that the training went far beyond the classroom.

&uot;We helped perform 12 autopsies,&uot; Lee said, noting that the training included both lecture and clinical components.

Overall, Lee and Newman were trained in detail on death investigation – what makes a death case one for investigation rather than a &uot;natural death.&uot;

&uot;We also went into great detail on how to work with law enforcement and how our roles interact,&uot; he said.

Back in Adams County, Lee is continuing work on renovating office space on the second floor of the Justice Court Building.

&uot;We just need to put down some carpet and we’ll be ready to go,&uot; he said.