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Kendall County Election 2016: Jacquie Purcell, Candidate for Kendall County Coroner

Mar 06, 2016 01:59PM ● By Steven Jack

Jacquie Purcell

Name: Jacquie Purcell


EmploymentFull Time Deputy Coroner / Kendall County Coroner’s Office

Family: Married to John Purcell, Children:  Alexander, 20; Benedict, 5; Molly, 4; Josephine (Coco) 3

Education: Graduate of Worsham College of Mortuary Science, State University of New York, Medicolegal Death Investigator, St. Louis University School of Medicine / Division of Forensic Pathology – Master’s Level 16 – Advanced Death Investigator, State of IL 40 Hour Basic County Coroner’s Training, Certified Nursing Assistant, The Conference of Funeral Service Examining Boards

Previously elected office: None.

Relevant community service: Rotary Club of Yorkville, Rotary Club of Montgomery, Operation Impact

Why are you running for Kendall County Coroner? What makes you qualified for the position?  

I have worked my entire adult life towards this goal.  I believe I have the education, training and experience to manage and raise the Kendall County Coroner’s Office to the standard it should be.  I put an emphasis on taking care of families while maintaining dignity and finding justice for the deceased.  I have had ownership in this office – I have been the only full time deputy coroner for the past 12 years.  In 2015, I was on call for 289 days, and I manage nearly 80% of all the deaths that are reported to our office.  I have managed every aspect of this position – from payroll, budget, and accounts payable to toxicology and autopsies.  It would be a seamless transition for me to be elected and move forward with positive changes in the office.

The Coroner’s Office has been under the same leadership since 1992. How do you differ from the previous coroner, and what specific changes, if any, do you plan to implement once in office?  

I differ from the previous Coroner in that I stress the importance of education and training.  I believe in going the extra mile to help a family navigate their way through a tragedy.  I believe in constantly learning and evolving – being open minded to changes that help create a better, more equal work environment.  I strive to be a leader instead of a boss.  I plan on being a full-time, working coroner.  I plan on have full accountability to the office and to the people who help elect me to the office.  My ideas include continuing and enhancing our current community service programs and presentations and implementing an organ and tissue donation program.  Day 1 – December 1, 2016 will be a completely new direction for our office, and I hope to be leading that charge!

What kind of relationship do you foresee the Coroner’s Office having with local law enforcement, health agencies, schools and other organizations? How important is that relationship?

I have a great working relationship with all of the local law enforcement agencies.  I also provide a training for the newly hired officers as part of their orientation process.  I present several times a year with the law enforcement classes at the Oswego high schools as well as at Indian Valley Vocational Center.  I present to the health career classes and health career clubs at the local schools.  This relationship is very important.  I have built a tremendous network of resources throughout the years working with all of these individuals and agencies.  These are programs I plan to not only continue, but to broaden. 

What do you see as the role of deputy coroners? Are they necessary in the operation of the office, and how so? How many deputies are employed by the office and is that just enough, not enough, or too many? 

I see the role of deputy coroners as being an extension of the coroner.  They need to be able to have the education, training and experience to function independently on a scene, yet know they have my full support and that I’m only a phone call away.  The office needs coverage 24-hours-a-day and 7-days-a-week; so, yes, it is necessary to have more than 1 person managing that type of schedule.  There are currently 22 deputy coroners assigned to the office.  There are only about 3 – sometimes 4 – willing to take a day on call each month.  I plan to hire only qualified deputy coroners. I hope to train them up to the best of my abilities utilizing monthly trainings, as well as annual training conferences, where they have the ability to network with other deputy coroners and learn how things work in other offices throughout the country.   I plan on maintaining the full time position of chief deputy coroner.  The deputy coroners, of which we will only need one or two to provide sufficient coverage for the office, will be hired based on their education, training, skills and abilities.