Saline County, Arkansas
Will Bearden has served Saline County as Coroner for the past 14 years and has done so with great professionalism and compassion. The county coroner is charged with the responsibilities of determining the cause of death in Saline County. This position is not a typical elected position with normal office hours. This job is one that is constant 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. There are numerous daily tasks that must be completed in order to determine a cause of death including conducting an investigation concerning the circumstances surrounding the death, gather and review background information, including but not limited to medical records and other information which may be helpful in determining the cause and manner of death (ACA 14-15-301). These duties are mandated to be completed in a very short time frame. The Office of the Coroner works very closely with multiple law enforcement agencies, ambulance companies, and fire departments across this county to assure that all information gathered in the investigation is accurate. This office also has a very close working relation with the Arkansas State Crime Lab and the staff at the Medical Examiner’s Office as well as the Chaplains in Saline County. The job of the coroner does not end with the initial investigation. The families of the individual that has deceased play an important part of this office. It is this office’s job to help these families cope with what has transpired in their lives. Many of the situations the coroner faces are very sudden and tragic. Along with the chaplains, the Coroner’s Office helps to make the next steps for a grieving family as easy as possible.
For many years this office was manned by Will Bearden alone however in December 2011 the Quorum Court of Saline County voted unanimously to hire a full time deputy coroner. This position was filled by Kevin Cleghorn of Saline County. Kevin has been a part time deputy coroner under Will Bearden since 2007 and has been in Emergency Medical Services for the past 22 years. He has served in Saline County for 18 of those years and has been a paramedic the past 14. He is also very active in the community teaching CPR and First Aid to multiple organizations including the Benton School District staff and multiple church organizations. He is also co-founder of CrossPoint which is a music ministry based out of Bryant and travels all across the Mid-Western United States performing and speaking to venues of all sizes.
Will Bearden, along with Kevin and the part time deputy coroners have attended numerous training sessions over the years. Each have certified through the State Crime Lab under the supervision of The Medical Examiner to draw toxicology from a deceased using multiple means of doing so. They have also attended the SUIDI (Sudden Unexplained Infant Death Investigation) Course, Mass Fatality and Disaster Management Course, as well as many other courses offered throughout the year. Each year holds new possibilities for furthering the services that this office can use to assist the citizens of Saline County and to make a death investigation easier for a family to endure.
Will Bearden, County Coroner
Saline County Coroner
Saline County Courthouse
200 N. Main Street
Benton, AR 72015