Cambria coroner’s office receives accreditation | News

The Cambria County Coroner’s Office has become only the 25th office in the U.S. – the fifth in Pennsylvania – to receive national accreditation, it was announced Monday.

The office received accreditation from the International Association of Coroners and Medical Examiners.

“We’re very proud to be able to give the residents of Cambria County a coroner’s office they can be proud of,” Coroner Jeffrey Lees said at a news conference at the Cambria County Central Park Complex.

“This shows the coroner’s office is excelling at doing our job at providing quality professional death investigations,” Lees said. 

The office was first accredited in 2012 under then-Coroner Dennis Kwiatkowski and can be reaccredited every five years.

The process is not easy, Lees said.

The staff worked six to eight months conforming to 230 standards set by the association.

“There were a lot of sleepless nights,” Deputy Coroner Scott Effinger said.

Association auditors examined standards in categories such as medicolegal office practices, investigative practices, morgue facilities, laboratory services and forensic specialists.

Lees said auditors delved into how the staff takes photographs, processes crime scenes, conducts external examinations and files paper work.

“We have to keep the office moving forward, and that’s my mission,” Lees said. “I won’t accept anything less.”

Dealing with death is not easy.

“When you add accidents, drug overdoses and homicides, it brings additional stress to their jobs,” Cambria County President Commissioner Tom Chernisky said. “The coroner and deputy coroners are on the front lines. 

“It takes special people to perform those duties,” he said.

“Your service to the community brings clarity and closure to those who are grieving.”

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