Monday, October 10, 2016

Decision 2016: Bates County Coroner candidate Kelly Phillips

What are the real requirements for coroner?

The responsibilities of the coroner are provided under Chapter 58 of Missouri statutes and defined in The Missouri Coroner’s and Medical Examiners’ Association list of “Coroner Duties”. The coroner is:
“To be conservator of the peace.” The same line of responsibility I have as a law enforcement officer today.

“To execute process when sheriff disqualified.” I have over 25 years with the Sheriff’s Office.

“Death to be reported and investigated by coroner…” I am a first responder to these scenes now and have been doing so for over 30 years. I am trained and experienced in the requirements of medical legal documentation and investigation. The determination of “further examination” (MO. statutory language) is to be made by a coroner with the knowledge, training, and experience to recognize when additional scrutiny of a death is required.

“Child’s death under age eighteen, notice to coroner by persons having knowledge—referral to child fatality review panel…” I have been a member of the Child Fatality Review Panel in Bates County since its inception was mandated by Missouri law.

I am a front-line provider and supervisor of a public safety entity for the County-from key local committees, including the Domestic Violence Task Force and the Multi-disciplinary Team (child abuse and child sexual assault) to emergency medical scenes and law enforcement activities. While you are sleeping or going about your daily business, I am providing services which enhance the safety and security of our community. I do this for my family and I do it for yours.

The law is clear that there “shall be no solicitation by the coroner” regarding funeral arrangements. There is absolutely nothing in the coroner statutes about a funeral home requirement or transportation of the deceased by the coroner. Bates County is fortunate to have excellent funeral providers-the coroner should not hinder the business they provide. As coroner, I will ensure that the decedent or family choice for funeral home is followed. Despite the word ‘tax’ being used by others, there is no new tax required with any person who is elected as coroner. There is no building and no equipment to be purchased. When there is the infrequent situation that a forensic examination is required, an autopsy will take place at the Jackson County Medical Examiner’s Office-the only area facility qualified to do so. This expense is provided for in the coroner’s budget now and is nothing new.

So, why would anyone want to be the coroner? I have spent my entire career in the medical and law enforcement fields. This is what I do every day and will continue to provide the same service as your coroner-providing objective answers your family needs at the time of loss. When informed answers are necessary regarding the cause and manner of death-there is a medical-legal process to be followed. The individual making these life-changing decisions should be well versed and experienced in the medical and legal area.

I have no other reason to pursue this position-no business interest and no political motive. My mission is to ensure that an impartial review take place for each and every death which requires the coroner.

I respectfully ask for your vote as Bates County Coroner on Tuesday, November 8. Please vote Kelly Phillips and put my medical and law enforcement experience to work for you.