Howard Cooper: Candidate Profile
Lake Coroner (Republican)
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.
Office sought: Lake Coroner
Family: Married, Five children
Education: Doctor of Dental Surgery (D.D.S.) Degree from Loyola University of Chicago, 1991
Civic involvement: Commissioner- Bannockburn Planning Commission/ Zoning Board of Appeals Member of DMORT WMD
Elected offices held: Lake County Dental Society: Treasurer, Secretary, Pres-Elect, President Chicago Academy of General Dentistry: Editor, Secretary, Pres-elect, President, Board of Directors Illinois Academy of General Dentistry: Treasurer, Vice-President, Pres-elect, President, Board of Directors
Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: No
Key Issue 1
Returning to making death prevention a priority.
As coroner, I will spend my time with young people at our county's high schools to talk about the dangers of texting and driving, drinking and driving, drugs, suicide, and risky behavior
Key Issue 2
Ensuring that our office treats families of the deceased with compassion and respect during their time of grief
Key Issue 3
Making it a rule that all deputy coroners have Medicolegal Death Investigator certification
The last two coroners (Keller and Wipper) ended their service in controversy. How will you professionalize the office to prevent scandal and boost public service? Be specific.
Our office will be very visible in the public schools.
I will have programs at all our county high schools talking about texting and driving, drinking and driving, drugs, suicide, and other risky behaviors.
In addition, I will work with local police departments and aid them in setting up car seat clinics for new parents.
Our citizens need to realize that our office wants to prevent deaths. I will make sure that all our deputies are certified Medicolegal Investigators and they will also be required to take continuing education yearly.
I will have regular performance reviews and I will make sure that we handle every case with the utmost respect.
I will also make it a point to follow up with the families and make sure we have answered all their questions.
What is the most important aspect of the coroner's job? How will you handle that task better than your opponents' Please explain in detail.
The most important aspect of the job is treating people with compassion and respect during their time of need.
The fact is that I do this every day as a dentist.
Let's face it, many people are afraid of the dentist.
I hear it all the time.
My compassion, explanations, and respect for my patients turns these frightened people into wonderful patients, who no longer fear dental visits.
People don't want to visit the coroner's office either.
They are scared and sad and maybe even in a state of shock when they come in.
I can use my every day skills and help them have a less traumatic experience at our office.
With compassion, explanation, and respect, our citizens will know that we are there to serve them in any way we can.
What aspects of the office do you believe needs improvement? Be specific.
Far too many people have had negative dealings with the Coroner's office.
We need to remember that compassion and respect are what each and every person deserves. We need to change the public's perception of the office by example.
Does the office do much in the way of comforting crime victims' families' Please explain. If not, should that be a role of the coroner's office?
I do not believe the office does enough currently.
I have heard this from many families that have dealt with the office in the past.
I do believe that we owe it to our citizens to be compassionate and helpful during there time of need.
There are many programs and people available to help families get through difficult times and we certainly can and will facilitate their introduction.
Does the coroner need to be a medical doctor? Why or why not? Please explain in detail.
I do believe the coroner needs to be a doctor.
Having a dental/medical background is important in understanding cause of death issues.
It is also quite an asset when discussing or viewing autopsies with the pathologists. I am a member of the Disaster Mortuary Operational Response Team Weapons of Mass Destruction (DMORT WMD).
DMORT is a Federal Level Response team designed to provide mortuary assistance in the case of a mass fatality incident.
On September 12, 2001, I was flown by the Air Force to New York.
I worked at Ground Zero and the Medical Examiner's Office with DMORT and spent weeks on the ground helping to identify our lost loved ones and heroes.
In 2005, I was deployed to New Orleans where I spent five weeks recovering, decontaminating, and identifying victims of Hurricane Katrina.
In 2010, I was named DMORT WMD National Disaster Medical Response Team Member of the Year for 2009.