DuPage coroner candidates tout their experience
In the race for DuPage County coroner, voters are choosing between the Republican incumbent Richard Jorgensen of Wheaton and his Democratic challenger Gregory Whalen of Clarendon Hills.
"For the past eight years, I've served as the coroner -- caring for the deceased in a respectful and dignified manner and their families with compassion and open communication," Jorgensen said during a recent endorsement interview with the Daily Herald and Shaw Media.
Previously, Jorgensen specialized in vascular and trauma surgery for 20 years mainly at Central DuPage Hospital in Winfield.
Jorgensen's accomplishments in office include getting all of the office's deputy coroners certified to national standards and introducing staff programs in continuing education and wellness. Jorgensen also had the office convert from paper to electronic records.
"When I got there, we were $75,000 over budget," Jorgensen said. "I had to actually determine if I was able to function under the budget that we were given, and I was able to corral our spending to the allotted budget and do more with less."
In 2018, Whalen ran unsuccessfully against Republican James Mendrick for DuPage County sheriff. So Whalen shifted his sights to the coroner's office since it is another countywide law enforcement agency led by an elected official.
While he doesn't come from a medical background, Whalen has more than 16 years of public service experience.
"My whole career has been committed to public safety," said Whalen, who is a lieutenant and training officer with the Glencoe Department of Public Safety.
Whalen highlighted his cross-training experience as a police officer, firefighter and paramedic. He also is a fire and arson investigator.
Since the coroner's office is responsible for investigating the cause and manner of deaths, Whalen said he would bring a wealth of law enforcement experience to the position.
"I've been on numerous death investigation teams all the way from fire investigation to suicides to homicides," Whalen said. "I just want to take all of my experience and bring it to the coroner's office and hopefully enhance the overall operation."