Coroner-elect Michael Fowler takes the oath of office from Dougherty County Probate Judge Nancy Stephenson Thursday at the Government Center downtown. Fowler takes office Jan. 1.
ALBANY, Ga. — Coroner-elect Michael Fowler was sworn in Thursday before a crowd of friends and family in downtown Albany.
Fowler defeatedt incumbent Coroner Emma Quimbley in the Democratic Primary election and had no opposition in November. He officially takes office Jan. 1.
Fowler was sworn in Thursday by Dougherty County Probate Court Judge Nancy Stephenson at the Government Center. After taking his oath, Fowler thanked those in attendance for their support.
Fowler’s oath comes relatively early compared to other elected officials, most of whom won’t take their oaths until Jan. 7.
Stephenson said it’s not unusual for coroners to be sworn in earlier than some of their political colleagues because of the nature of their work.
“Technically, he becomes responsible for death investigations at midnight on Dec. 31,” She said. “So he needs to be sworn in before that date so he can legally perform the duties of the office.
“He’s a bit early in the sense that we typically give the oath to coroners about a week before they’re due to take office, but this was done to accommodate his schedule.”
One of the oldest continually-performed public offices in the United States, coroners are state constitutional officers responsible for death investigations and ultimately determining the cause and manner of death for suspected homicides, suicides, accidental deaths and medical deaths for people who weren’t under the care of a physician when they died.
In Dougherty County, the coroner’s office does not typically conduct post-death investigations, relying instead on police or the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. The coroner also serves as the liaison between the investigative agencies and the families of the deceased and the funeral homes.