Coroner candidates discuss qualifications ahead of election

Published 11:20 am Tuesday, October 18, 2022

Funeral Home Director and incumbent coroner Jeff Jones and Ret. Lt. Ricky Price discussed their qualifications and priorities for the Chambers County coroner position, which will be voted for on Nov. 8.

Both Jones and Price have worked in fields that relate to the position. Jones is the current Chambers County coroner, while Price worked in law enforcement and death investigation for a law firm and funeral home.

Jones graduated from Gupton-Jones College of Funeral Service in Decatur, Georgia. In addition to his elected position, he is a national board-licensed funeral director and embalmer in the state of Alabama. 

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“I’ve served as coroner for the past 16 years,” Jones said. “And I served as a deputy coroner under Dave Collier, the former coroner for about 15 years.”

Jones has also been a funeral home director for the past 46 years. He worked for the Sanders Funeral Home for 24 years before it passed ownership and was renamed Jeff Jones Funeral Home.

Though he said it can be a difficult job to talk about it, Jones feels that his experience in the field speaks for itself.

“It’s not a job a lot of people like to talk about,” Jones said. “But I feel like I have the experience to deal with the families and show them compassion and how to talk to them and help them through this bad time of losing a loved one.”

Though he retired six years ago, Price is eager to serve his community again. He said the position appeals to him because of his background in determining the cause and manner of death in cases and his devotion to helping people.

“Because of my background and dealing with death as I have, that would be a job that I could step into tomorrow and get me out of retirement,” Price said. “I find it personally gratifying to help families, and I learned a lot of that at the funeral home too.”

For many years, he worked in law enforcement as an officer, and later, as a supervisor in Chambers County. He also worked part-time for Johnson-Brown Service Funeral Home in Valley.

He became the lead investigator for the law firm of Morris, Jaynes and Hornsby of Alexander City and Birmingham, where he stayed from 1996 to 2016. During this time, he helped determine the cause of death for many cases around the country.

Price said that he will be committed to being prompt when responding to calls and producing death certificates. He also said that establishing deputy coroners and a professional work environment is a priority for him.

“I want to bring the coroner’s office up to the 21st century,” Price said. “I don’t know what the budget is going to be … but Chambers County needs a lot of equipment that’s required by law for people on death calls.”

According to Price, the most important part of the job is to have respect and compassion for the deceased and their families. Jones also said being the county’s coroner means being compassionate to grieving families. 

“Dealing with the family is probably most important because they’re the ones who’s really suffering,” Price said. “With my twenty years with the law firm, I learned to be more compassionate with families and learned how bad they do suffer and try to show them dignity.”

Both candidates maintain that they have strong ties within the local enforcement and investigation community.

Jones said that he already has a positive working relationship with other county departments. According to Price, he also has strong connections with the police and fire departments in Chambers County. 

“I have a good working relationship with the investigators with the state crime lab,” Jones said. “I have a good working relationship with all the first responders in the county.”

Both candidates urged citizens to get out and vote on Nov. 8.