“The coroner’s office is an office that nobody wants to deal with. It’s our job to be the final voice for the deceased and to give the family some closure,” states Ciriello. He feels it is the 28 years of law enforcement experience that makes him the easy choice to be the next coroner. “We’d just like to see the best and most qualified to continue to maintain the integrity that the office has. We have one of the best coroner’s offices in the state.”
Ciriello notes the coroner’s office determines the cause, manner and mechanism of death, but also needs to be an administrator, maintain records, budgets and fulfill required training. Having been in law enforcement for 28 years with the last 7 of those in an administrative position gives me the best opportunity to understand the human resources side of being the Coroner. This includes preparing fiscally responsible budgets, preparing and initiating contracts that may be needed for services, payroll and record keeping as prescribed by the Office of Vital Records.
He adds the coroner is also an educator. “There is a need for the coroner’s office to provide education to emergency services personnel (police, fire and ems) so that they understand the role of the coroner in a death investigation and what is needed of them at scene of a death. The coroner also needs to provide education to the public, to include the roles and responsibilities of the office, the latest trends in preventable deaths (especially those involving children), whether that be in safe sleep practices, texting and driving, drinking and driving and prescription drug abuse. The coroner also plays a vital role in organ donation by facilitating donation between the families and the organ procurement organizations.
“I will work to ensure that all death investigations are done with the highest degree of respect and dignity. I will also make sure that the office of Coroner maintains a fiscally responsible budget and that the office can justify its expenditures.”
Since 1993 he has served as a deputy coroner for the county. Ciriello became an Indiana certified medicolegal death investigator in 1998 when the state required certification for all death investigators. In 1999 he was hired by the state coroner’s training board to oversee all state training and certification requirements. He still holds that position and serves on the board of directors for the state coroner’s association and on the legislative committee.
“I am also a Center for Disease Control Certified Infant Death Investigator/Instructor, I serve on the Indiana Department of Health Maternal Mortality Review Team and I am the Indiana coordinator for the U.S. Department of Justice “NAMUS” Project, which looks into and assists in identifying unidentified human remains. These are just a few of the highlights of my qualifications.”
Ciriello has extensive experience and knowledge of the office of coroner, as well as experience as an investigator through his years of law enforcement service. For the last 28 years he has served the county as an officer with the Kosciusko County Sheriff’s Department in numerous positions and for the last six years he has served as Syracuse Police Chief, a position he currently holds.
In the past, he served as a jail officer for the Marion County Sheriff’s Department; a fire and arson investigator with the Indiana State Fire Marshal’s Office; and a patrol officer, DARE officer, shift supervisor and division supervisor with the Kosciusko County Sheriff’s Department.
Ciriello is a graduate of the Indiana Police Executive Leadership Academy, Kosciusko County Leadership Academy and the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy. He is a 1978 graduate of Franklin Central High School, Indianapolis.
The timing and opportunity was right for Ciriello to seek the coroner’s position. “I’ve been a deputy coroner for 18 years. I’ve been active in the office as well as on the state level. But the coroner’s office is term-limited and our current coroner is ready to end his term. It’s something I’ve thought about doing for several years but the opportunity was right this time to do it.”
As coroner Ciriello has numerous goals. “Probably some of my main goals would be to work with law enforcement to target the drug problem. We’re seeing a lot of deaths with drug overdoses. Also, provide training as well as educate the public of the dangers of prescription drug abuse.”
His past experience is beneficial for the position, according to Ciriello. “I think with my past experience of being with the office gives me insight into the latest and best practices in forensic science and death investigation. It also gives me a better insight into the legislation that attempts to take place at the statehouse to regulate what coroners do and cannot do, and my law enforcement background provides me with the tools.”
“I am seeking the office to continue to grow the office by becoming more transparent with what we do, why we do it and to be an active part of preventable deaths. I feel the position requires much more than the investigation part of the job, as this office has many facets to it well beyond the scene investigations. While it is true that there are a number of coroner investigations done throughout the year the majority of the duties are outside of that. The office of coroner has to have a high degree of confidentiality and dignity within its scope and I feel that I can provide that level of competency.”
Ciriello’s wife, Jane, is the prosecutor’s administrative assistant. Their children attend Wawasee Community School Corp. schools and are involved in various community activities. Ciriello has served on numerous boards in the county and is involved with many civic organizations.