WILLMAR — Kandiyohi County approved a contract with Anoka County this week for coroner services to be provided by the Midwest Medical Examiner's Office.
The move became necessary after the local county coroner announced his retirement last month and efforts failed to find a local replacement.
It is the role of the coroner to investigate deaths that are unwitnessed, unexpected or involve unusual or potentially suspicious circumstances.
Under the new contract, Kandiyohi County will pay the Midwest Medical Examiner's Office $150 a month, plus $2,000 per autopsy when an autopsy is performed. The office also will provide an on-call investigator. The contract is for the remainder of 2018 with an automatic renewal clause for two additional two-year terms.
The Midwest Medical Examiner's Office provides similar service to other counties that don't have their own coroner, said Dan Hartog, Kandiyohi County Sheriff.
"We have been using them for some time for forensic autopsies. They provide a very good service," he said.
It's the first time Kandiyohi County has had to look outside its own borders to fill the appointed position.
It was the preference of county officials to find someone local to serve as coroner but the on-call demands proved to be too daunting. County officials have said that many other counties, especially those that are rural, have faced the same challenge.