The County Coroner is responsible for investigating the cause and manner of deaths, issuing death certificates, and requesting autopsies. The Coroner is the only County Official empowered to arrest the County Sheriff or to fill the position of Interim County Sheriff in the event of a vacancy.
Similar to the requirements for County Sheriff, state law specifies that any candidate for County Coroner must:
- be a citizen of the United States;
- be a resident of the state of Colorado;
- be a resident of the county in which the person will hold the office;
- have a high school diploma or a college degree;
- complete a criminal history record check;
- provide a complete set of fingerprints to a qualified law enforcement agency according to state law; and
- possess knowledge and experience concerning the medical-legal investigation of death.
Additionally, any person who has been convicted of any federal or state felony charge is ineligible for the office of county coroner unless he or she has been pardoned.
A constitutional amendment, passed in 2002, authorizes the General Assembly to require that Coroners receive minimum training upon election to office. State law requires that a person who is elected or appointed to the Office of Coroner for the first time to attend a training course for at least 40 hours using the curriculum developed by the Colorado Coroners Standards and Training (CCST) board, which is overseen by the Department of Public Health and Environment.
Within one year of taking office, any person who is elected or appointed to the Office of Coroner for the first time must obtain certification in basic medical-legal death investigation from the Colorado Coroners Association or another training provider approved by the CCST board.
State law also requires each coroner to complete a minimum of 16 hours of in-service training provided by the Colorado Coroners Association or by another training provider approved by the CCST board during each year of the coroner's term. The CCST board has the authority to grant an extension of up to one year to obtain certification or determine that a combination of education, experience, and training satisfies the requirement to complete 20 hours of in-service training annually.