Former Adams County Coroner Leslie L. (Barker) Cook has announced that she will seek a new four-year term, subject to the Republican primary.
She is the only announced candidate for the office.
Cook, a rural Decatur resident, has served in the coroner's office since 1998 and currently is the deputy corner under her husband, Mark Ccok, who was elected coroner four years ago. Leslie Cook was appointed coroner in 1998, then won election to the office from 2000-2004 and 2004-2008.
A 1992 graduate of IPFW and a Registered Nurse, Cook has been employed since 1995 at Forensic Nursing Specialties in Fort Wayne, She is a board-certified Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner providing patient care to men, women and children who report sexual assault/molestation, and serves as Chief Clinical Nurse responsible for conducting local, state, and regional trainings.
She also practiced as a nurse in the emergency room at Parkview Hospital from 1991 until 2004.
Cook is board-certified as a Medical Legal Death Investigator by the State of Indiana Coroner's Training Board and is an active member of the board of directors for the Indiana Coroner's Association, holding offices of secretary/treasurer, vice-president and president. She currently serves on the legislative and conference planning committee bringing mandatory continued education to other Indiana coroners and their deputies.
The candidate also is an adjunct instructor for the Indiana Coroner's Training Board on topics of death investigation. Locally, the coroner's office participates in youth education programs on the consequences of destructive decisions, career choices, or general information on death investigation and the coroner's office.
In 2009, she was recognized as “Coroner of the Year” by the Association of Indiana Counties.
"Being informed of the death of a loved one or anyone is difficult in itself," Cook said in making the announcement. "Add to that the word 'investigation' and that can greatly intensify any death situation. Questions need to be asked and answered, procedures need to be followed. Doing what is right, keeping families informed and maintaining professionalism are all vital in the final determination of an investigation. "I have been both honored and humbled to work with many great professionals in Adams County and beyond, as well as grieving families," she continued. "With nearly 20 years of practicing as a nurse and 17 years in forensics I feel as though I have the background, education, training and experience to continue to provide the people of Adams County the services required as their elected coroner."
Cook is a member of the International Association of Forensic Nurses and served on the committee to write the educational guidelines for death investigation for forensic nurses. These guidelines are the first ever written in death investigation designed specifically for nurses using the nursing process and the multi-disciplinary approach, she explained.
She is a member of the Indiana Chapter of the International Association of Forensic Nurses and the Forensics sub-committee of the Emergency Nurses Association.
A lifelong resident of Adams County, the candidate and her husband have five children. Leslie is the daughter of Steve and Kaki Barker of Decatur.