In The Spotlight

Introduction

Since Connie was a young nurse in the 1980s she knew her career path would eventually lead her into the Medical Examiner/Coroner Office.  Forensic Death Investigation training throughout Canada and the US positioned her to serve an internship under former Natrona County Coroner, Dr. James Thorpen.  Colorado University, Colorado Springs is where she completed her formal forensic nursing training through intensive study of medicolegal death investigations over a two-year period.  Connie was a death investigator under the direction of Dr. Thorpen from 1998-2002.  After Dr. Thorpen retired in 2009, Connie was appointed Coroner and ran for election in 2010.  Connie has been the elected Natrona County Coroner since that time.
 

Purpose and Mission


The Coroner's mission is dedicated to providing the citizens of Natrona County with timely medicolegal death investigations in a professional and courteous manner, while ensuring the highest level of compassion, dignity and respect for the deceased and their family.  Through collaborative efforts and advances in technology and forensic training, our efforts will serve the community of Natrona County on a higher standard of professionalism.

The goals of the Coroner’s office are to:

  • Create a year-end report that will be superior to years past
  • Establish a first-ever Coroner database that will produce very technical and useful data for the office and the community
  • Increase the number of donor cases through advocacy, facilitation, and support of organ and tissue donation
  • Provide a family presence in the office
    • The Coroner welcomes and invites families of decedents to interact and meet with the Coroner and staff to ask questions and receive needed information to assist with the healing process
  • Establish an atmosphere of transparency and trust within the community
    • This office engages in open communication, both within the office as well as with the community
  • Establish a budget that is within a comfortable range of operation while maintaining a fiduciary responsibility to Natrona County

State of Wyoming Authority

The Natrona County Coroner office operates under and follows Wyoming statutes regarding medicolegal death investigations that are listed under Resources on the Coroner webpage.  All Coroners in the state of Wyoming are required to comply with Peace Officers Standards and Training.

Operations

The Coroner's office employs one full time Chief Deputy Coroner who is dedicated to taking the majority of calls that come into the office through central dispatch when a person dies in the county.  The Chief Deputy also has overall duties of equipment, vehicle and general building maintenance as well as some personnel obligations.

The administrative assistant is a part time position that requires office managerial skills as well as bookkeeping, data collection and input, case file generation and general personnel management.
At any given time, there might be from four to eight investigative officers who are highly trained and experienced medicolegal death investigators who share the call schedule.

Since Connie has been in office, the infrastructure has moved forward with a very comprehensive database that has provided data on the national, state and local levels.  The Natrona County Coroner's Office is very proud to maintain the status of the first and only accredited forensic office in Wyoming awarded in 2013 by the International Association of Coroners and Medical Examiners.

Since October 2015, the office has engaged the services of a highly sought-after board certified forensic pathologist who travels throughout Wyoming to complete autopsies at the Coroner's request.  The office has become a Forensic Center for other Wyoming Coroners who wish to engage the pathologist for autopsy services.