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Russell keeps campaign promise to work as coroner full time

More than a week before taking office, coroner-elect Rob Russell has followed through with his campaign promise of resigning from his position with the DuPage County Sheriff's Office so he can serve Kane County residents full time.

Russell retired as a sergeant on Friday. He will be sworn in as Kane County coroner on Dec. 3.

He said there was no reason to delay his resignation.

"I wanted to get a head start," he said by phone Sunday. "I"m going to stop by tomorrow and say hi to the folks [at the coroner's office]."

Russell, who faced Democratic candidate Tao Martinez in the Nov. 6 election, will lead the office formerly headed by Chuck West, who had been charged with official misconduct. West died in July following complications from surgery.

Russell said he will soon begin working toward the priorities he outlined during his campaign, such as accreditation. He plans to research accreditation agencies this week, he said.

In the coming months, he said, he also plans to meet with the entities the coroner's office interacts with, including law enforcement agencies, fire departments and districts and funeral homes. He wants to know their concerns and what his office can do to help, he said.

Russell's 20-year career in law enforcement included experience with crime scene investigation, death investigation, patrol, emergency disaster deployment, corrections, court security and community policing.

He said he will miss the work, but Kane County residents deserve to have a full-time coroner. With no other jobs demanding his attention, he said, he can focus all his efforts toward making the office the best it can be.

"It's just the best way to do it in my opinion," he said.

Russell lives in South Elgin with his wife, Susan, and their four children.

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