Rowell: County in new era of technology, forensics

Published 12:40 am Friday, October 29, 2010

Wilson “Eddie” Rowell is seeking election to the office of coroner. He is a Republican and currently works for Advanced EMS.

Explain how the office of coroner works. When is the coroners presence required, and what is the coroner expected to do?

Rowell: The coroner reports to the scene of any death in the county, and determines whether the death is from natural causes, or whether foul play is suspected. Exceptions occur when the person is a hospital in-patient, a nursing home patient, or under hospice care. If foul play is suspected, the coroner assists other authorities with the investigation into the cause of death. Lastly, it is the coroner’s responsibility to fill out a death certificate and file it with the state of Alabama Bureau of Vital Statistics.

You have the raised the issue of facilities for county coroner, including cold storage. In your opinion why is this needed and what do you think the cost would be?

Rowell: I will always look for ways to better serve the needs of our citizens, and at the same time, not bring unnecessary financial burdens upon the county. The county once had facilities at Andalusia Hospital, but due to hospital reconstruction, it has since been removed. I have been asked to look into the possibility of getting cold storage back, for cases where it may be needed. A cold storage area can be useful when the deceased is from out of town and family has to make arrangements to have the body transferred. When foul play is suspected, the body must be held until arrangements are made to have the body transported, as per the counties responsibility, to the forensic science facilities in Montgomery. Also, if the deceased is an organ donor, we need facilities to hold their body until the Organ Donation Center in Birmingham can make the transfer of organs to their facility. I am currently researching the cost and possible location of such a facility, so that I can present this information for evaluation to our County Commission.

Why are you a better choice for this office then your opponent?

Rowell: This county has entered a new era of technology and science. As we go forward, we will not be able to simply rely on the means of the past; we will have to stay current with the change it brings. I represent that new era. I will meet the advancing requirements of coroner, with 13 years medical expertise, technology, and applied forensic science. I ask the citizens of Covington County to support my candidacy for the future.