By MAGGIE MENDERSKI
Herald-Whig Staff Writer
MEMPHIS, Mo. -- Thelma Norton was sworn in Oct. 11 as Scotland County's first-ever deputy coroner.
Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon appointed Dr. Jeffrey Davis to the coroner's office in September following the death of longtime coroner Virginia Monroe. Norton, the supervisor of the emergency department at Scotland County Hospital, had often assisted Monroe with cases. Davis believes her extensive experience will serve the community well as the county's first deputy coroner.
"She's a very qualified and well-educated nurse," Davis said. "She's obviously very well respected in the community and people look up to her."
Monroe never worked with a deputy during her 29 years in office. The Scotland County Sheriff's Department filled in for her during vacations and in her illness toward the end of her career. Davis believes appointing a deputy will eliminate a conflict of interest should a death ever involve a member of the Sheriff's Department. Norton's appointment will allow for appropriate checks and balances to occur, and for the two agencies to complete their investigation independently. The Sheriff's Department will still fill in should both Davis and Norton be absent.
Davis said Norton will complete her required training in the spring, but in the meantime the two will handle calls together.
"I trust her advice," Davis said. "I trust her with patients. She's very trustworthy and reliable as a registered nurse. She's a good person that I thought families would identify well with."