The Kane County Coroner’s Office has become the first coroner’s office in the state of Illinois to become accredited.
Kane County joins an elite list of 20 coroner offices nationwide that have been accredited by the International Association of Coroners and Medical Examiners.
“We’ve gone from laughing stock to preferred stock,” Kane County Coroner Rob Russell said Thursday in a press conference announcing the achievement.
The International Association of Coroners and Medical Examiners has been in existence since 1927 and is an international professional medicolegal death organization that evaluates and oversees best practices in the medicolegal death industry. The IACME accreditation process includes a complete audit of the coroner’s office in 140 national standards in four different categories: administration, investigation, forensics and facilities.
Russell said that the Kane County Coroner’s Office passed three of the areas with ease: administration, investigations and forensics. But Russell said the office only passed the facilities portion of the accreditation because of the recent move of some of the operations to the DuPage County Coroner’s Office.
“This (accreditation) achievement was no small task. And the fact that the Coroner’s Office had to overcome so many challenges in the past 20 months makes this accomplishment so much sweeter,” Russell said.
Russell said accreditation makes the office more grant-friendly and may help reduce insurance risk.
Russell is seeking support for a modernized coroner facility as part of the county’s five-year capital plan. The Kane County Coroner’s Office has had many issues with its current building, including a freezer that broke down on Thanksgiving Day 2013, known asbestos, electrical and ventilation issues and most recently the discovery of mold, which led to Russell shutting down the Kane County morgue in June. The Coroner’s Office later moved body storage and autopsy operations to the DuPage County Coroner’s Office.
“As the first accredited coroner’s office in Illinois, we are worth investing in,” Russell said. “We have proven that despite the many challenges, we are a squared-away office. Once a neglected and underfunded office, we are now an example of national, and even international, best practices in medicolegal death investigations.”
SOURCE: Kane County Coroner’s Office press release