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The Indiana State Coroner’s Training Board was established by the Indiana General Assembly in 1994. The Training Board was created to establish a certification training course and continuing education course for coroners and their deputies. The Training Board was established at the request of coroners throughout Indiana to provide more professionalism to the office and to make sure all death investigations collectively were conducted in a uniform manner. The Training Board is made up of six persons, The Chairman of the Indiana State Department of Health (or designee), The Superintendent of the Indiana State Police (or designee) and four elected Coroner’s appointed by the Governor. The Training Board has two employees, the Executive Administrative Assistant and the Director of Training. The two of them oversee the daily business of the board; conduct the certification trainings and in-service trainings. The Training Board then contracts with a private company to oversee the testing and testing results.
Between 1994 and 1997 the training board worked to create a curriculum and a certification test. The curriculum that was designed was done to national standards for death investigators and the test was designed based on the curriculum. The test was then validated by utilizing death investigators from around the country; those same persons were used as instructors in the beginning to conduct the training. After the core curriculum and test were created the Coroner’s Training Board then added two sections to both, one being a section on Indiana Law as it pertains to the coroner and the second being an externship program.
These minimum standards were then adopted by the Training Board and in 1998 training and testing started throughout the state. In October 2000, IAC 207 was adopted by the Training Board making the certification training and testing mandatory for the deputy coroners. Even though the training was at that time only required for deputy coroners, the elected coroners were encouraged to attend the training and prior to 2007, 68 coroners had taken the certification training, externship and test, thus completing their certification. The training and certification process as a whole as been welcomed with open arms and optimism by the coroner’s and their deputies. The Training Board felt strongly enough about the standardization of the training and the way death investigations are conducted that it elected not to “grandfather” anyone for this certification.
The Training Board currently hosts 2 certification training classes per year and provides in-service training to maintain the Medicolegal Death Investigator Certification. The Board utilizes instructors from around the state to teach the classes during the certification training. These instructors consist of a forensic pathologist, a forensic pediatrician, a nurse, law enforcement, an attorney and persons who are experienced in the coroner system and who are Certified Medicolegal Death Investigators.
In 2007 the General Assembly passed into law the requirement for the elected coroner to become certified and provided 6 months from the time of taking office to complete this certification, the Training Board was supportive of this legislation and worked with Senators and Representatives to ensure that this was enacted. Prior to that occurrence the Training Board made amendments to IAC 207 requiring that the elected coroner become certified.
Dr. Richard Dowden, Chairman (ISDH)
Capt. Todd Reynolds, Indiana State Police
Gordon Becher, Knox County Coroner Vice Chairman
Thurl Cecil, Hamilton County Coroner
Marian Dunnichay, Madison County Coroner
David Hunt, Montgomery County Coroner
Lisa Barker, Tippecanoe County Deputy Coroner, CTB Executive Administrative Assistant
Tony Ciriello, Kosciusko County Deputy Coroner, CTB Director of Training