The two candidates for Effingham County coroner outlined their credentials to the crowd at the recent candidates forum hosted by the Effingham County Chamber of Commerce.
Coroner David Exley and challenger Chris Frost will face each other in the July 31 Republican primary, with the winner running unopposed in November.
Exley has been county coroner for the past five years after being appointed in March 2007 to fill an unexpired term. He was elected in November 2008 to his current term. Prior to that, he was Effingham’s deputy coroner for 21 years.
“As coroner, I along with my deputies interact with families and friends of the deceased at their worst times, which is at the death of a loved one,” Exley said. “We have asked questions and investigated death while the closest family members of the deceased usually have just learned of the death. Coroners also try to work with those persons during their loss and treat all with dignity and respect.”
Exley said that, along with “work(ing) close with all law enforcement agencies and area funeral homes to properly investigate deaths to determine the cause and manner,” he also has a good working relationship with Effingham Hospital.
“During the recent expansion the hospital had, they had the foresight to add a morgue into the hospital, and that’s been used a couple times by our office already,” Exley said.
Exley is a district director for the Georgia Coroners Association and serves on the Effingham County Child Fatality Review Committee, which investigates all deaths of children under 18 years old. He is a Georgia-certified paramedic and a former director of Effingham County Emergency Management Services.
While Exley is a lifelong Effingham County resident, Frost moved to Rincon 10 years ago — and says it has felt like home ever since.
“When I came to Effingham 10 years ago, I realized this is my home,” he said. “I don’t question God, but I sometimes would like to ask him why he didn’t just start me out here, because this is clearly where I belong.”
Another perfect fit, Frost said, would be having the job as Effingham County coroner.
“I love this county and I want to be attached to this county,” he said. “My brother-in-law is actually the elected coroner of an adjacent county. Truthfully, the selfish part of me sort of envies my brother-in-law and I just think that job he’s got is the job I’m supposed to have.”
Frost has been private detective for the past 10 years and is also a federal firearms dealer. He holds a master’s degree in public administration with a criminal justice concentration.
In addition, Frost was a police officer with a K-9 unit for two years, a state parole officer for five years and a federal probation officer for eight years. He also is a former state-certified and nationally-registered emergency management technician.
“Why am I running? I miss being attached to the criminal justice system,” Frost said. “I have a lot of professional investigative experience. In 15 years in law enforcement, I have investigated just about everything there is.”