Two vying to become county’s first medical examiner

Milwaukee, Sheboygan County employees in the running for position that replaces elected coroner
Ozaukee Press staff

Two finalists for the newly created Ozaukee County medical examiner position have been named.

The new position is an appointed one, replacing the elected coroner position.

The finalists are Luke Warnke, a forensic investigator since 2013 in the City of Milwaukee’s Medical Examiner’s Office; and Desarae Rohde, a deputy medical examiner in the Sheboygan County Medical Examiner’s Office.

Both are certified through the American Board of Medicolegal Death Examiners, Ozaukee County Administrator Jason Dzwinel said.

Both Warnke and Rohde have been interviewed by supervisors on the county Public Safety Committee and are undergoing background checks by the Ozaukee County Sheriffs Office.

When that is concluded, Dzwinel said he will recommend a finalist to the committee, which will make a recommendation for approval by the County Board.

The board voted last spring to switch from an elected coroner to an appointed medical examiner. The change goes into effect Jan. 2, 2023.

Making the change allows the county to establish qualifications for the position, something that can’t be done for an elected position.

The only requirement for an elected coroner is that the candidate be 18 years old and a county resident.

Neither a coroner or a medical examiner are required to be a medical doctor.

The position’s duties include responding to death scenes that meet certain criteria, initiating investigations when appropriate, documenting the circumstances of death, determining the cause and manner of death and whether additional investigation or an autopsy is warranted.

The coroner or medical examiner also interacts with the deceased person’s family and law enforcement, attorneys, physicians and signs death certificates and cremation permits.

The county contracts with the Milwaukee  County Medical Examiner’s Office to conduct autopsies.



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Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

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