by Caitlin Huston
In the county coroner’s race, the incumbent coroner and his opponent, a former police chief, each say experience is the asset that will win the election.
Republican George Franklin is seeking a second term against Democrat Randy Rozzi. While both served on the Logansport Police Department for decades, Franklin says he is the only certified coroner in the race and has a proven track record in the position while Rozzi talks of his experience as a detective in death investigations and tenure as police chief.
Rozzi said he has spent 21 years in law enforcement, including seven years as a detective from 1994 to 2000 and a stint as police chief from 2004 to 2009. He currently works as a case manager for
Cass-Pulaski Community Corrections. Rozzi also ran for Cass County Sheriff in 2010 against Republican candidate Randy Pryor.
Franklin has served as coroner for the past four years and also had a long career with the police department, with 23 years in the patrol division. He is now the city’s code
Franklin stresses his certification as a death investigator.
“I’m the only certified candidate,” he said.
But Rozzi counters that he is used to training, after having completed multiple hours of training as a police chief, and he notes that gaining certification is a requirement of the office.
“I don’t see that as a barrier,” he said.
While Rozzi acknowledged Franklin’s four years on the job, he said that he also has experience after about six years of consistently working crime scenes as an evidence technician and crime scene
“I feel like I’m the most qualified candidate,” Rozzi said.
Rozzi also added that he attended two death investigation schools while at the police department and said he was responsible for handling many death notifications.
If re-elected, Franklin said he hopes to build upon what he considers a successful four years as coroner. During his tenure, Franklin said, he has completed more than 200 death investigations and saved
money for the county.
“I’ve managed to turn back in, three out of the last four years, at least 25 to 30 percent of my budget,” Franklin said.
Rozzi said the department’s small budget would not be a problem for him, after he managed a budget of more than $1 million at the police department for four years.
If elected, Rozzi said, he hopes to quickly and accurately notify the families on the cause of death and work the crime scenes in a dignified and respectful way.
“My goals would just be to serve the citizens of Logansport in a professional manner,” Rozzi said.
Franklin agreed that maintaining a professional and caring attitude was a must in the job, especially when dealing with family members at a difficult time.
“It goes beyond death,” Franklin said. “There’s a lot more involved in it than that.”
Franklin said he had plans to increase the number of deputy coroners to six in order to decrease response time.
“I think it would give us better coverage in the county,” Franklin said.
Rozzi said he would decide upon the number of deputy coroners if elected to office, but he said he believed only a few were necessary. He also said he would require the deputy coroners to keep up to date on training and re-evaluate the deputies at the beginning of his term.
Franklin’s brother, Ted, is Logansport’s mayor, but he said he hoped voters would judge him on his own merits.
“It’s important to realize that we’re two separate people, and these are two separate offices,” he said.
Rozzi said there was no bad blood between him and Franklin. He said the two worked together on the police force for 20 years and had a good professional relationship.
“We’re not best friends, but we’ve always respected one another,” he said.