Coroner pulls double duty

Published 12:01 am Thursday, February 14, 2008

NATCHEZ — Adams County Coroner James Lee recently completed police training and became a Fayette Police Officer.

“I am very proud of that accomplishment,” he said.

Acting as a police officer in Fayette will not impact his ability to work as Adams County coroner Lee said.

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He has no plans to leave either job.

Lee said he wanted to become an officer because his opponent in the last election, Tonja Butler, was also working as an officer.

Lee had previously volunteered as an auxiliary deputy for the Adams County Sheriff’s Office before working in Fayette.

Lee said he will be on an indefinite leave of absence from the police force, and able to carry out his corner duties.

Lee said he knows of approximately 15 coroners in Mississippi who also work as police officers.

Former Attorney General Bill Allain ruled on the issue in 1982 and 1983.

In both rulings he essentially said a person can serve in both capacities as long as their duties do not overlap or interfere with each other.

Allain also said dual service is permissible as long as one job does not interfere with the other.

Lee said he is confident that neither of his jobs will overlap or hinder the other.