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updated: 1/10/2014 5:20 PM

Kane coroner seeking advice from other coroners

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Kane County Coroner Rob Russell is asking other coroners to review his operation and suggest improvements, saying he wants "outside, objective evaluations of things as we move forward."

Russell told the county board's judicial and public safety committee Friday of his plan.

Russell expects the Coroner's Needs Assessment Team will start meeting in February. He said it will be bipartisan, and feature a range of experience.

"It is very important to get their input because some have been through the challenges we are about to face," Russell said, especially in terms of the coroner's facility. Russell and previous coroners have said the current facility is too small and outdated.

A forensic pathologist and funeral directors are also being asked to join the panel.

He also told the committee his office has submitted its application for accreditation from a national coroner's organization, and expects an audit in April or May.

"My biggest concern is the facilities," he said.

The committee approved a $3,497 supplemental appropriation to the 2013 budget to pay for the unexpected cost of repairing a freezer. The freezer's compressor broke Thanksgiving Day, and repairs could not be made until the next day, leading to partial thawing of some bodies.

Russell's written report indicated his office conducted 13 autopsies in December, an increase of three from December 2012, even though there were 20 fewer deaths. The office conducted 19 toxicology tests, the same as last year. There were four suicides, and eight natural/other causes deaths.

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