The process of becoming certified with the ABDMI board consists of rigorous field work evaluations followed by a comprehensive, four hour written examination. Dr. Deaton began this work over two years ago to strengthen his knowledge in the area of death investigation and through a collaborative effort with Mark Hopwood, with the JSU Center for Applied Science, and District Attorney Mike O’Dell, Deaton has been able to achieve this distinguished honor.
The fieldwork consisted over 2200 hours of death scene investigations, correctly completing over 300 tasks that were directly supervised by a fieldworker specialized in the area, and demonstrating a positive working relationship with multi agencies involved in a medicolegal death case.
At this time there are only 5 coroners in the state of Alabama with this certification and only 23 individuals total in the state have ever achieved this level of certification.
Deaton states, “I take the responsibility and honor of speaking for the dead very seriously. It is my job to understand their circumstances before they left this world, and speak on their behalf, therefore providing closure and answers to their loved ones left behind. I want to extend a sincere thank you to Mark Hopwood for taking the time to assist me in forensic training both in the classroom and the field and also to District Attorney Mike O’Dell who provided a one time grant this past summer to send me to the national training program with the International Association of Coroners and Medical Examiners. This opportunity provided me with over forty hours of classroom training in medicolegal death investigation techniques. When I took office, one of my goals was to advance the office of the Coroner, and this is certainly one of the highest achievements of our office to date. I look forward in my next term to bringing the office to an entirely new level as we continue to pursue our desire for excellence.