November 2018 Treasure Valley Voters Guide

Welcome to our Voter Guide for the November general election, presented by the Idaho Statesman and the League of Women Voters of Idaho. Compare candidates' views on the issues side by side and create your own ballot, which you can then print or email.

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...Please note: Candidates' responses have not been edited.

Canyon County Coroner

Incumbent Coroner Vicki DeGeus-Morris lost to challenger Jennifer Crawford in the May primary. DeGeus-Morris then filed as a write-in for the November vote, setting up a rematch of May's race.

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  • Candidate picture

    Jennifer Crawford

  • Candidate picture

    Vicki DeGeus-Morris (write-in)

Biographical Information

What education and experience do you have to prepare you to be a county coroner?

What would you like to accomplish as a county coroner?

What is working well in your county's coroner's office? What would you change?

What level of professional standards and training should Idaho require of an elected coroner?

What is needed to keep your office effective and efficient over the next 10 years?

What is one thing voters should understand about this office that they perhaps don't?

Age 40
Education Bachelor Degree in Criminal Justice with an emphasis in Crime Scene Investigation
Prior political experience None
Civic involvement None
Years living in Idaho 14
Family Husband, Justin, married 5 years, Sydney (20), Katelynn (15) and James (4)
I have worked under the current Coroner for just under eight years. I have many years of hands on experience conducting autopsies and death investigations. I have obtained my Bachelor Degree in Criminal Justice with an emphasis in Crime Scene Investigation. I have also received training in the following areas: Domestic Related Homicides, Medicolegal Death Investigation, Photography and Digital Photography, Managing Property and Evidence in Law Enforcement Agencies, as well as successfully completing the Forensic Science Program 101 through the American Institute of Applied Science. I have also continued my education in the medical field through the College of Western Idaho.
As the County Coroner, I have a long list of things I would like to accomplish, beginning with the inner workings of the Coroner’s Office. I believe it is extremely important to have a policy and procedures manual in place. Currently there is no policy and procedure manual which not only puts the office at risk, but also allows the administration the ability to change the rules at any time creating confusion. The current Coroner’s office also does not have a mass fatality or disaster plan of its own. As a coroner’s office we desperately need to create one that collaborates with the other agencies while specifically training our people for the challenges we face as a team in such a case. I would like to implement real world solutions to modernize the Canyon County Coroner's Office from the inside out. If elected you would see significant changes in the relationships with Law Enforcement agencies, policies implemented and community involvement.
The Deputies are what is working well for the Coroner’s Office. These individuals work all hours of the night, holidays, and in the worst situations possible. They are the only ones outside of the pathologist who even know how to conduct an autopsy. They should be receiving recognition. If given the opportunity I would sit down with each member in order to find out what is working and what is not. I would also like to focus on more training. Every employee at the Coroner’s Office has their own strengths that can add to the quality and success of the office if they are given the right environment. I firmly believe that for any job it is important to invest in the right people. Investing in training for the individuals conducting the investigations can only increase the effectiveness and efficiency of the Coroner’s Office. Encouraging employee continued education and training doesn’t just create more informed workers, it also increases employee morale and job satisfaction exponentially. My goal is to empower my team and help them gain as much knowledge as possible.
We get this question often. Currently the state of Idaho has very few qualifications one should have to be an elected Coroner. A simple high school diploma and a few menial things can put you in that role. I believe a Coroner should possess some experience in the field of Law Enforcement, have some level of medical knowledge or training and have a minimum of 6 months internship. This is an important job, and as with any job, you should continue your education no matter how long you serve. Not with just memberships or associations, but real hands on training in as many areas as possible.
To make the Coroner’s Office more effective and efficient, several things need to occur. Quarterly performance evaluations by the Elected Official for every employee needs to be a priority. Every employee at the Coroner’s Office has their own strengths that can add to the quality and success of the office if they are given the right environment. A new and updated computer filing system needs to be implemented to protect the integrity of the caseload. The current system has been in place since 2000 and is very basic and outdated. Every record of death before 2000 are kept in paper files. If a fire were to occur, those files would be lost forever. The vision I have for a new Coroner’s Office would include a very well put together internship programs for our youth. There is adequate time in the 10-hour workday of our Deputies to be serving the community in programs targeted at students who have a desire to learn more about the work of a Death Investigator, Forensic Science practices and Pathology. Creating new programs and allowing these students a full view at what a career in this field requires would be an amazing way to give back and enhance our great County.
As many people know, it is the position of the Coroner and the Deputy Coroners to investigate cases involving death. Most of these deaths are from natural causes, but also include accidental, homicide and suicide. Many assume the Coroner investigates all deaths. This is not the case. If an individual dies and is under a physician’s care, for example; disease or a history of ongoing medical problems, the Coroner’s Office will refer the case to the attending physician. It is only when a person dies unexpectedly, without a medical history, accidental death, suicide, under suspicious or unknown circumstances, the Coroner’s Office will be responsible for investigating the cause and manner of death. It is also the duty of the Coroner’s Office to notify the appropriate Law Enforcement agency upon notification of such death, as well as a Law Enforcement agency to notify the Coroner’s Office to ensure a proper investigation can be conducted by both entities.
Age 63
Education High School and numerous training courses over the years. Double Board Certified with American College of Forensic Examiners with a Fellowship and The American Board of Medicolegal Death Investigation
Prior political experience 7 terms a Coroner
Civic involvement Speaking at high schools throughout the school year. Mentor students interested in forensics
Years living in Idaho 63
Family Single, with two sons, two daughters-in-law, three grandchildren
Facebook yes
Twitter @VVicki801
Other social media LinkedIn
I was an EMT in Wilder for 20 years beginning in 1976 with the Wilder Fire Department. From there in 1985, I went to work full time in the Sheriff's Office as a Dispatcher and part-time with the Coroner's Office. In 1988 I was hired full time as Chief Deputy Coroner and I took Office in 1991 after winning the election in 1990. I had my EMT experience and then I continued up to now, going to various sites for training and more certifications. I also learn hands on and working with various agencies.
I have accomplished so much in my years and I just want to continue learning and keeping up with technology and techniques. My wish it to always continue to take the Coroner's Office in a forward direction for the benefit of Canyon County.
At this time I feel we are working well and it is just a matter of keeping everyone trained and moving forward. I don't see any real changes to be made other than to keep growing with the times. Relationships with other agencies are the best they have been and I will continue in that direction. My philosophy is teamwork and that goes with any and every agencies that we work WITH. I always tell them to treat others the way you want to be treated.
I feel that the Elected Coroner should continue with education and become a member of ABMDI which is the American Board of Medicolegal Death Investigators. I have all but one certified in this National Registry. I believe that we never stop learning and that is what we do here. It doesn't always have to be in the classroom but taking advantage of the internet had allowed to improve our knowledge and answers if needed. We have a wide range of ways to increase training.
Keeping up with the times and meeting the demands of population increase. Continuing education is vitally important and I plan on seeing that this continues as we grow. As the population grows the need will grow also, and I would like to see some updates to equipment or acquiring more equipment which will happen I'm sure. All of the other elected officials in the county understand the need to grow and we are no different and keeping a line of communication open is essential. That is the nice thing is we all, elected officials, are on the same page when it comes to growth.
The public sees what they can from the outside and unfortunately they think it is like television. We work in the best and the worst of conditions and times. We see and smell things that no one thinks about. We deal with the grief of families when we go to their homes to notify them of the deaths of loved ones. The sights and sounds cannot be recreated for the public nor can they see the pain and anguish that first responders and Coroners must deal with day to day and often more than once a day. The don't feel the feelings that linger after all is said and done as we all try to comprehend and compartmentalize their thoughts and emotions. Those things cannot be explained as we all go through the process differently. We then need to decompress so that we can continue to help when the next call comes in. We also talk to people or each other if a case is really taxing. We are a family and we help hold each other up.