November 7, 2013
Deputy Coroner Appointed for Scotland County
Thelma Norton, RN, has been appointed Deputy Coroner for Scotland County.
As Dr. Jeffrey Davis assumes his new role as the Scotland County Coroner, he has implemented an addition to the office that is a benefit to all residents of Scotland County. Dr. Davis has appointed Thelma Norton, RN, as Deputy Coroner. She was sworn in on October 11th. This appointment represents the first time that Scotland County has had a Deputy Coroner to serve in the absence of the Coroner and to assist the Coroner with fulfilling the function of the office.
This can be viewed as a step forward for Scotland County. State statues require the county Sheriff or his/her Chief Deputy to serve as the Coroner in the Coroner's absence. The Sheriff's Department has always complied, but felt it somewhat a conflict of interest since the Coroner investigates and determines the cause and manner of death, and in rare occasions this investigation could include a member of the Department. This will allow appropriate checks and balances to occur, and for the two agencies to complete their investigation of suspicious deaths independently.
The Sheriff's Department has wanted the Coroner's Office to be a separate agency that determines the cause and manner of death allowing them to focus on the law enforcement aspect of suspicious deaths. The Deputy position will now allow this to happen, by having a Deputy to cover any deaths occurring in Dr. Davis' absence. However, in the event that both the Coroner and Deputy Coroner are unavailable, Missouri statutes still provide for the Sheriff and his/her Chief Deputy to fulfill the role and responsibility of the Coroner's office.
Thelma Norton, RN, is a life-long resident of Scotland County and is the Supervisor of the Emergency Department at Scotland County Hospital. Dr. Davis is a family practice physician and Chief of Staff at Scotland County Hospital.