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11-Color

The Independent 11

May 29, 2014

wCoroner stepping down after five terms Commissioners approve promoting from within to replace Dobersen

esent StuRep. h bills ol. cerns legisot goBy Jennifer Smith ” dol-jsmith@ourcoloradonews.com l dismon- Longtime Arapahoe County Coroner Michael Dobersen has announced his retired. ndedment effective June 2, after serving five terms e go-in the office. d be- First elected as a Republican in 1993, Dobersen hinted during his 2010 campaign that us toit would likely be his last. He told Colorado ableCommunity Media he wasn’t even sure he miss-wanted to run again at that time. better “On the one side, it’s obviously a stressful Johnposition,” he said. “Sometimes when I get up in the middle of the night to go to a crime

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scene, I think gosh, I’d like to be retired. But on the other side of the coin, this is the best job I’ve ever had.” Dobersen has been a rarity among county coroners, having earned his medical degree from the University of Miami (Ohio). Because he’s a licensed medical pathologist, term limits didn’t apply to him in Arapahoe County. He ran five successful campaigns, although he switched his party affiliation back to Democrat in 2006. Dobersen asked the Arapahoe County Board of Commissioners to appoint his second in command, Dr. Kelly Lear-Kaul, to serve out the remainder of his term. Sheriff Dave Walcher also endorsed her, and they did so on May 21. Nancy Doty, board chair, said Lear-Kaul is well qualified to serve, being a certified forensic pathologist. “She is well respected in the coroner’s office, in Arapahoe County and within the

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University of Colorado Health Sciences Center School of Medicine. She serves on a variety of boards and committees, including the Colorado State Child Fatality Prevention Review Team, the Sudden Unexpected Death in Childhood Medical and Investigative Advisory Board, the TriCounty Healthcare Coalition and the Arapahoe County Narcotic Prescription Drug Abuse Working Group. She is also an assistant professor in the pathology department at the UCHSC. “I want to thank the board for their consideration and support” said Lear-Kaul, who will be sworn in during a ceremony at 3:15 p.m. on May 30. “In our field, we find it is important to have a forensic pathologist serving in the role of the coroner, as we feel that expertise provides a better service to the citizens of Arapahoe County. This has been the standard for the last 30 years, and I look forward to continuing that great tradition.”

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forensic pathology community, and we are confident in her ability to lead the men and women of the coroner’s office,” she said in a news release. The board agreed to pay her an annual salary of Doberson $220,000, more than the minimum of $87,000, because of her qualifications. She will perform many of the hundreds of autopsies that go through the office each year. Last year, the county investigated 2,664 deaths and did 450 autopsies. Also last year, the coroner’s office was nationally accredited for the first time, becoming one of just four counties in the state and 77 in the nation. Lear-Kaul joined the office in 2004. She earned her undergraduate degree in biology, biochemistry and molecular biology from Cornell College and her doctorate from the

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