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County hires 1st chief medical examiner to open facility

In addition to being the Johnson County Coroner, Dr. Diane C. Peterson is the county’s first chief medical examiner.  She notes that this designation was something that drew her to the position.

“The attraction to the job and Johnson County was the opportunity to be directly involved in a historical event—changing the coroner system to a medical examiner system. Not many currently working forensic pathologists can say that they have been involved in building an ME system from scratch,” Peterson said.

She noted that medical examiners (MEs) nationwide would be envious of the situation.

“Many medical examiners push for the eventual replacement of the coroner system. Although to accomplish this country-wide is many years in the future, Johnson County has started the process now. This is wonderful, and I’m excited to be a part.”

Peterson’s goal is to provide high-quality death investigations to Johnson County.

Kansas statute requires boards of county commissioners to appoint a county coroner, so she now performs dual duty with the recent expiration of the appointment of the former county coroner, Dr. Robert Prosser.

“Dr. Robert Prosser has worked tirelessly for many years as coroner for Johnson County. He has done very well for the people he has served,” Peterson said. “I thank him for helping me with the transition.”

Peterson is excited about the possibility of opening a brand new facility down the road that includes features such as a great deal of natural light. The versatility of the building with a classroom-style conference room is another plus.