The Polk County Coroner’s office is set to take part in a study with the U.S. Department of Justice as federal officials seek to better understand crime going on in smaller communities locally and around the nation.
Coroner’s officials will be sharing information with the Bureau of Justice Statistics Reporting and provide case work specifically on violent and drug-related criminal activity happening in communities like Polk County, which lies in a semi-rural area around larger cities.
Polk County Coroner Tony L. Brazier said in a statement that the coroner’s office was “proud to be chosen to participate in this pilot program sponsored by the federal government.”
“We are honored to take part in this bitter-sweet study, which is designed to derive and collect information,” Brazier said.
He explained the goal is to take case study notes, informational aspects of current trends in specific crimes as they all relate to, violent crimes, gun related incidents as well as the broad array of drug involvement and its impact upon Polk County and its surrounding cities and adjoining geographical areas.
“Polk County ‘s Office of the Coroner has taken great pains so as to very closely monitor specific changes in the ever increasing number of cases that our agency works alongside our dedicated law enforcement officials, at the local, county, state and federal levels,” Brazier said. “We consider it a privilege and an honor to work closely with these fine men and women of law enforcement and we were quite flattered when our agency was approached by the DOJ to participate.”
The idea is to gather information that will allow a local and broad look at changes and negative shifts in the patterns or increases in specific crimes to place a better focus on the ways that law enforcement can address specific problems, like when spikes in overdoses happen in communities or violence erupts between gangs on the streets.
Brazier said it is also his hope that by partnering with the Department of Justice, it will help bring federal block grants to the county to use on a local level to fight crime at all levels.
Brazier’s statement added that “We will continue to work just as hard as we’ve been working to help impact crimes that results in the loss of life and provide these case statistics in this Coroner and Medical Examiner Census Study with the philosophy that we’ve always had, “that while being the Guardians of Death here in our county, we never lose sight of the fact that we have always been and will continue to be a proactive Coroner’s Office, working as hard as possible to save more lives each year through knowledge and education of the public and helping everywhere and anytime that we are called upon to do so.”
Among the other goals of Brazier’s office in the future is to work toward expanding the county’s morgue at the Polk County Jail to provide more space for remains, and increase the capabilities of the coroner’s office in having a more suitable area for initial identification and examination of bodies before they go off to the GBI Crime Lab for full autopsies.
For now, he’s excited about having data at hand to provide to law enforcement to do their jobs.
“My entire Agency considers it a true honor and privilege serving the fine residents of Polk County and we will always be dedicated to each and everyone of them, their safety and their welfare,” he said.