Forsyth County’s new coroner took over at the beginning of 2017 and will now have funds to improve the department.
Forsyth County commissioners voted unanimously at a recent work session to approve up to $25,800 to be used for the coroner’s office. Lauren McDonald III officially became the county’s new coroner, a position he has held previously, on New Year’s Day after winning the seat last year.
“We are asking, graciously, that we could increase our budget based on the fact it was cut last year,” said Nickie Stockel, chief deputy coroner.
“We want to maintain the highest standard of professionalism and make sure that we care for the community and show compassion, as well as having highly-trained individuals when it comes to death investigation.”
The funds will go toward training, vehicles, uniforms and other items.
“The most important thing is equipment for processing death scenes,” Stockel said. “We were left with a minimum amount of body bags and we’ve had up to 80 calls already from January 1 to now.”
Stockel said many of those calls were from hospital settings, which provided their own body bags.
Among the duties of the coroner’s office is to determine the cause, manner and circumstance of death under the Georgia Death Investigation Act. The coroner works closely with the sheriff’s office.
Some of the training for deputy coroners will be done in St. Louis, which Stockel said is vital for staying up to date on information.
“If you’re involved in any medical, legal or any kind of aspect training where you represent the county and may make a decision that could represent the community, you need to stay abreast to the changes, she said. “A lot can happen in a year.”