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Coroner candidate Aldahl discusses qualifications, proposals

In the course of preparing an article last week concerning the upcoming Republican primary election race for county coroner between incumbent Carl Macht and challenger Rich Aldahl, SUN staff was unable to contact Aldahl for an interview.

In the interest of fairness, Aldahl was contacted this week and was given a chance to answer the questions asked of Macht for the July 22 SUN.

Referring to his pertinent experience, Aldahl referred to his 32 years with the Los Angeles Police Department, 25 of those years spent as a homicide detective.

“Basically,” said Aldahl, “I worked on the citywide major crimes unit for 25 years, mostly homicide investigations. We handled all officer-related shootings as well. I had in excess of one-thousand investigations in my career and attended well over 300 autopsies. I taught in-service training on crime scene investigation and homicide investigation, and taught classes for the Texas Department of Safety in homicide investigation. I have been to nearly every state in the union on follow-up investigations as well as to Canada, Mexico, Puerto Rico. I was a twenty-five year member of the California Homicide Investigation Association.”

Asked “What is the biggest challenge for the coroner’s office, now and in the upcoming year?, Aldahl repled: “Training is number one.To train all personnel involved with the office — clerical, deputy coroners, volunteers. We need to upgrade the training.

“I would also like to establish a county office, where we can keep records secure and store equipment needed for death investigations. I realize the budget is tight, but I think we can do more with less.”

Aldahl was asked: “What, if anything, can be done differently with how the coroner’s office is run?”

“The expertise at death scenes could be more thorough and complete. The main thing is to make sure nothing slips by if a crime has occurred — that a death not be written off as accidental or natural if it resulted from a crime. Here, again, is where training kicks in, with more expertise at the scene.”

Aldahl added that he believes, “... local resources should be used whenever possible. Resources from Durango and elsewhere should be called in only when absolutely necessary.”

Finally, Aldahl was asked: “Why are you the best candidate for the job?”

“Based on my twenty-five years of background in death investigation and my expertise at death scenes, I feel I am the best qualified to be coroner for this county,” he said.

“I have compassion for, and understanding of, the survivors of the deceased. I think my contacts with law enforcement in the past have served me well, and I will continue to maintain positive relationships with everyone involved in death investigations.”