The Grundy County Coroner’s Office takes a “proactive” approach to save lives. One of the best places to start is through the local high school driver’s education classes. The class starts by the students coming to the morgue on a designated day. Upon entering the Grundy County Complex, the students are brought into the coroner’s area. First, they get an understanding of what is involved with death investigation. The students are taken to the garage area of the coroner’s office where they begin to see the actual working area in the state of the art forensic morgue. Students are given an opportunity to see and understand what happens from the time the coroner receives a call.
The discussion is centered on a fatal traffic crash of a younger age person. It is often stressed that while this particular crash involves alcohol, not all fatalities are alcohol related. The students are then taken into the autopsy suite to see the layout and this is where most of the discussion takes place. Many of the instruments that are used during an investigation or autopsy are out for viewing. The explanation of toxicology tests and a toxicology kit is openly discussed and shown.The coroner supports organ and tissue recovery. Students are educated on the organ and tissue program and what the current law is regarding having your driver’s license marked “donor”.
Last but certainly not least, is notification of family members of a death.
- Callahan states that this is something that is not easily explained and difficult to understand the full meaning unless one has been affected by a notification.
- Callahan states that this is really the only area that cannot be adequately described. This is something that no one can fully appreciate unless they have been on the receiving end of a death notification. After receiving such notification, some families will choose to come to the morgue and view their loved one while other may choose to wait.
- Callahan points out that no names are ever used in the presentations and that no photos of any individuals are ever used. During any presentation, we give the highest level of respect and compassion for the families of loved ones. When speaking with a family, Callahan will usually tell the family that their loved one will be treated with great dignity and respect, just as though they were one of his own family members.
The services of death investigations are very trying on the investigator. The interactions with any family are extremely stressful and emotional times. It is with my highest hopes that with a professional and compassionate investigator, the death of a loved one will be more easily accepted.