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October 25, 2012

Full fields for coroner’s post in Clark, Floyd counties

Newcomer will replace Coots in Clark; incumbent Knable faces challenge in Floyd

> SOUTHERN INDIANA — Clark County Coroner

The Clark County Coroner’s race is being contested by a New Chapel firefighter-paramedic and a New Albany Police Department officer.

The victor Nov. 6 will replace incumbent Edwin “Huck” Coots, who is not eligible to run for a third-consecutive term. A member of the Coots family has held the office since 1888, except for two years in the late 1920s. The position has an annual salary of $12,344 and a four-year term.

John Hall

Democrat John Hall, 41, of Clarksville, is a sergeant with NAPD and works as an assistant-shift commander. Hall said he has gained experience in his 16 years with the department that will help him serve as Clark County’s next coroner.

“I feel like I am very qualified for the position and having worked with coroners in the past, I feel like it is important to have a qualified person in that position,” he said. “If you get an unqualified person in that position there are a lot of problems dealing with law enforcement, dealing with the medical community and things of that nature.”

He said when family members are dealing with the recent death of a loved one, they want the most highly-qualified person available to provide guidance in their time of need.

“Someone’s death is a very important thing to have to deal with,” Hall said.

Hall also said he brings strong leadership abilities that have already been recognized through his affiliation with the Indiana Fraternal Order of Police. He has been elected on several occasions as president of the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 99 in New Albany. Hall added he was selected among 120 candidates across the state as the FOP President of the Year in 2012

He said his commitment to his duties with NAPD would not interfere with his role of coroner. Hall said he would typically call upon his deputy coroners to respond to death calls that arise when he is on duty at the department.

Hall said he hopes to continue the standard of service Clark County residents have benefited from in the last 100 years.

“The coroner’s office in Clark County has ran well for over a century, and there is no need to disrupt something that has been running well,” he said.

Of the two paid deputy coroners that the elected coroner can appoint, Hall said he will keep one of the deputies on staff and replace the retiring deputy with Coots.

Coots added Hall to the coroner’s staff late last year as an unpaid deputy coroner after he decided to run in the current election, Hall said. While serving as a deputy coroner, Hall said he has undergone mandated training to become a coroner and become familiar with the office duties.

“I will be able to hit the ground running,” Hall said.

He said having Coots on board would provide him direct access to a valuable resource of extensive experience and knowledge.

“Huck and I, we work well together,  and between my knowledge in law enforcement and his knowledge in the coroner side of things, I don’t think there are many things we can’t handle expeditiously and appropriately,” Hall said.

Coots was asked if he made the same offer to serve as deputy coroner to Hall’s opposition, Terry Conway, and he said it is “too soon to tell.”

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