The coroner, whose office is established by the constitution, is elected for a four-year term.
The chief responsibility of the Coroner is to determine the manner of death in cases involving violence or casualty or when an individual is found dead in unexplained circumstances. When notified of any such death, it is the duty of the Coroner to notify the police agency having jurisdiction in the area and to obtain the assistance of the police in making his investigation. As soon as a cause is determined, the law requires the Coroner to file a report as to her findings with the local health officer. When the Coroner considers an autopsy necessary, she is required to employ a qualified physician under whose direction the autopsy must be made. The coroner has the additional duty of filing, with Clerk of the Circuit Court, a report of such deaths as she investigates.
The statute provides that the Coroner may also act as a peace officer, performing the duties of the Sheriff in case of the latter's absence or disqualification. She is the only county officer who may arrest the Sheriff when a warrant is issued.