To the editor:
Although I am running as an unopposed, incumbent candidate for Essex County coroner, I feel it appropriate to introduce myself to the voters of Essex County so they know who they are voting for and what my qualifications are.
I have been serving as one of your four coroners since Dec. 4, 2012, when I was selected by the county board to complete the unexpired term of W. Robert Huestis, who had passed away. This was done through an application and interview process, and I was fortunate to have the confidence of the board to be hired.
I am a lifelong resident of the Tri-Lakes and began a law-enforcement career at 20 years old when I volunteered as an auxiliary patrolman for the Lake Placid Police Department. At 21, I was hired by the New York State Department of Correctional Services as a correction officer, where I remained for the next five-and-a-half years, when I was appointed as a trooper in the New York State Police. I was promoted to the position of investigator in the Bureau of Criminal Investigation, where I spent the better part of 10 years in the Forensic Identification Unit, responding to various crime scenes throughout the five counties that make up Troop B. This position required extensive training in death investigation, evidence preservation and collection, photography and fingerprint processing and comparison. I retired from the State Police in 2012, after 24 years of service.
Since being appointed as your coroner, I have responded to 30 cases in Essex County and one case while covering for Franklin County. I attend continuing education courses and continually seek to find ways to be more proficient. Compassion and sensitivity come naturally to me, and the families that I have served can echo that.
The coroner position is not given much attention at election time and goes largely unnoticed. We serve as a cross between death investigators and funeral directors. I ask for your vote on Nov. 5 and look forward to continuing to provide the people with professional, compassionate service at their most difficult time. Thank you.
Francis "Frank" Whitelaw