Bulloch County Coroner Jake Futch said Wednesday he plans to run for a fifth term in office.
With a background in funeral services, he has served as coroner for the past 16 years, having been first elected in 2000 when he ran against deputy coroner Jeff Smith after the previous coroner decided not to run again.
He defeated challenger Darlene Harville in 2004, and ran unopposed in the past two elections.
“I appreciate the fact that Bulloch County has trusted me to serve in this capacity,” Futch said. “I am humbled by the fact.”
In order to qualify as a candidate for the coroner’s office, Georgia law has a list of mandates, according to the Georgia Coroner’s Association (www.georgiacoronersassoc.org).
The Official Code of Georgia Annotated (OCGA) 5-16-1 states “Coroners are elected, commissioned, and removed as are clerks of the superior courts…and coroners shall hold their offices for four years.”
Candidates must be a United States citizen, a resident of the county in which he or she seeks office for at least two years prior to qualifying and is still a resident throughout the term of office.
Candidates must be registered to vote; be at least 25 years old, have a high school diploma or its recognized equivalent and have never been convicted of a felony offense or any offense “involving moral turpitude contrary to the laws of this state, any other state, or the United States,” the law reads.
Candidates must also, if elected, complete coroner training within 180 days of election. The basic training course is provided by the Georgia Police Academy.
Futch became POST (Peace Officers Standards and Training) certified in 1986. He has served as a funeral director for 29 years, and is currently employed as a real estate agent as well as a pastor of Claxton Primitive Baptist Church.
The son of Rufus and Judy Futch, he is married to wife Kim and the couple has four children.
He is in the process of joining the Statesboro Kiwanis Club and is a past president of the Georgia Coroner’s Association.
Futch said he hopes to continue as Bulloch County’s coroner because “it is really an extension of the ministry of a funeral director. You comfort families at the worst time of their lives.”
The training a coroner receives and continues annually provides education on how to determine cause and manner of death, which is also often a comfort to family members of the deceased, he said.
Herald reporter Holli Deal Saxon may be reached at (912) 489-9414.