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updated: 10/10/2012 8:46 PM

L. Robert Russell: Candidate Profile

Kane Coroner (Republican)

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  • L. Robert Russell, running for Kane Coroner

      L. Robert Russell, running for Kane Coroner

 

 

 

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Note: Answers provided have not been edited for grammar, misspellings or typos. In some instances, candidate claims that could not be immediately verified have been omitted.

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BioKey IssuesQ&A

 

Bio

City: South Elgin

Website: russell4coroner.com

Office sought: Kane Coroner

Age: 44

Family: Wife: Susan (married 21 years) Children: Brooke (19); Brianna (16); Bo (13); Brock (9) Pets: Bear and Boo (Dogs)

Occupation: Sergeant- DuPage County Sheriff's Office (20th Year)

Education: Master of Arts in Political and Justice Studies, Governors State University, 2007 Bachelor of Science in Sociology/Criminology, Northern Illinois University, 1990

Civic involvement: South Elgin Lions Club Member Member of First Baptist Church of Geneva South Elgin Youth Football Coach

Elected offices held: None

Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: No.

Candidate's Key Issues

Key Issue 1

My number one campaign issue is bringing respect and honor back to the coroners office. I believe this can only be done with a coroner who makes this office his only priority. The first thing that I will do when elected is to retire from my current job. That will allow me to have no outside distractions. Relationships with Law Enforcement and Fire personnel, Funeral Homes, and Advocacy groups have been very strained over the past decade. Because the job of repairing is a big one, I have already begun conversations with several of these groups in hopes of determining where the breakdowns in communication have been.

Key Issue 2

My number two issue is to establish good policies and procedures for office members to follow based on the 'best practices' both locally and nationally, I will do this by interacting with other county coroners and also initiating office accreditation with the International Association of Coroners and Medical Examiners (www.theiacme.com).

Key Issue 3

My third issue is updating the morgue. I do not suggest building a new morgue, rather resource sharing with an area hospital until the economy allows for funds to be available. I would also like to partner with area universities and colleges to make Kane County a training facility. This may allow for state training funds to also be utilized to share in the cost of a new morgue.

Questions & Answers

What would your policy be on the handling and storage of evidence and materials from death scenes? Specifically, should employees be allowed to take items from death scenes home with them under any circumstances?

Any handling of evidence and materials must have strict guidelines and chain of custody procedures. Evidence on crime scenes will normally be under law enforcement agency jurisdiction in which the crime occurred. Property should remain in the residence of the victim for next of kin to allocate, as it makes no sense to remove it from a secured residence. Victim's property not at a residence should be properly identified, recorded, and remanded to the next of kin as soon as possible. Establishing office accreditation will quickly resolve this issue, as the process is geared to generate transparent, accountable policies. I am the only candidate that has practical experience in the official cataloging of official evidence and property. At no time should an employee take ANY item to his/her home under any circumstance.

The county board has considered converting the coroner's office into more of a medical examiner position several times now. What is your view on the differences in those setups and what is best for Kane County's needs?

It has been all but proven that Kane County cannot afford a Medical Examiner. For a county of Kane's size, it makes more sense to continue with the coroner system. Problems in coroner's offices in the state have not been problems in the system, rather character problems with the coroners themselves. In counties where the coroner has good integrity, the system works well and for much less than a medical examiner?s office. The key seems to be electing good people who have good investigative skills and are dedicated to performing the job on a full time basis.

How do you resolve the ongoing debate over the county board setting budgets for departments run by other elected officials over whom the county board has no control? How should the county board enforce the budgets it sets?

It is true that the county board has no control over administering the allocated funds or managing the functions of each elected county office. However, by statute, the board does control how much is allocated (55 ILCS 5/3-3003). Because of this, the public demands that elected office holders must work with county board members to submit responsible, articulate budgets. I am the only candidate that has any experience in submitting government budgets on the county level.

Would you voluntarily adopt the county's more stringent ethics ordinance for yourself, your office and your employees?

Absolutely. As a police officer, the issue of ethics is front and center on a daily basis. I have a working knowledge of what to do because of my disciplined and accountable 20 years in law enforcement.

How will you repair the image of the coroner's office in the wake of the former coroner's indictment and ongoing lawsuit with a current employee?

As I stated earlier, the first thing that I will do is to retire from my job and devote ALL of my time to fixing this issue. Second, I will personally reach out to all who come in contact with the office with professionalism and compassion. Lastly, I will make the office more transparent, accountable, and professional by getting the office nationally accredited. I believe this to be the best and most humble approach to solving these challenges. No one person has all the answers, but by leaning on proven standards, we can efficiently pool our knowledge appropriately. I respect my opponent and I respect what he does for a living (Biohazard cleanup), but my resume best fits the job description of Coroner. By Illinois State Statute, the Coroner is a Peace Officer. I have 20 years of Law Enforcement experience and have physically involved in numerous death investigations. I have performed evidence and property control, and have engaged with the community. I believe that this experience, coupled with my education and certifications best qualifies me as the next Kane County Coroner. If you agree, I ask for your vote on November 6th.

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