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Interim Cherokee Co. Coroner Paul McDonald Qualifies For Full Term

Paul McDonald will seek the office of Cherokee County Coroner. McDonald stated, “it has been my privilege to serve the citizens of Cherokee County for the last five (5) years.”  McDonald was sworn-in as the Chief Deputy Coroner in August 2016. In November of 2020, he was appointed Special Coroner by Judge Tim Burgess and later appointed Coroner, to fill the remaining term of Dr. Jeremy Deaton, by Governor Kay Ivey on December 16, 2020.   

McDonald completed the Medicolegal Death Investigation Training Academy conducted at Jacksonville State University, Center for Applied Forensics in February 2018 and is certified as a registered, (diplomate level), Medicolegal Death Investigator (November 2018) by the American Board of Medicolegal Death Investigators. McDonald has strived to be a voice for those citizens that have passed away and to manage the Coroner’s Office as a professional organization. The Cherokee County Coroner’s office has four volunteer deputy coroners that assist him when needed.

McDonald has a background of 40 plus years in police, fire and EMS in Kentucky. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications at the University of Louisville, attended Eastern Kentucky University in Richmond, Kentucky, where he studied Criminal Justice Administration, and the Institute of Police Technology and Management (IPTM) in Jacksonville, Florida where he studied Motor Vehicle and Commercial Vehicle Accident Investigation and Reconstruction. He served for ten (10) years on the fatal accident reconstruction team with the Louisville Division of Police.  He also served on the Joint Emergency Services Unit with Louisville-Metro Police Department.  McDonald was commissioned a “Kentucky Colonel” by the Governor of Kentucky in 1999.

While in the fire service, McDonald was awarded nine (9) times for outstanding service and received a lifesaving commendation. McDonald retired from the fire service at the rank of Deputy Fire Chief.  During his law enforcement career, he served with several different agencies obtaining the following ranks: Patrolman, Detective, Sergeant, Accreditation Manager and Chief of Police.  He was awarded a Life Saving metal while he was a Police Sergeant and while he was Chief of Police, he received an award from the Henry County Emergency Medical Service for his dedication and exemplary service to the citizens of Henry County.

McDonald and his wife, Rhonda, moved to Centre in 2015 to be closer to family. Both are members at First Baptist Centre, and they are actively involved in their church community.  The McDonald’s have two daughters.

The coroner is an independent judicial official who has a statutory responsibility to investigate and determine the cause and manner of death per the Code of Alabama. This includes identifying the body and determining how, when, and where the death occurred.  It is the duty of the coroner to inspect the body and location of the deceased person, to identify marks or other empirical evidence that may indicate how the person died.

McDonald said, “I look forward to continuing to serve the citizens of Cherokee county and to continue to improve the Cherokee County Coroner’s office and preserve the work accomplished thus far. I humbly ask for your support.”  During their January meeting, the Dekalb-Cherokee Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 37 endorsed Paul McDonald for Cherokee County Coroner.

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Joey Weaver

Joey Weaver has worked for WEIS Radio in Centre as the Assistant News Director since 2008 covering news in Northeast Alabama and Northwest Georgia.

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