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Published on May 28th, 2020 | by Millennium Magazine Staff

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Gary Watts, Richland County Coroner

Pictured Gary Watts at a press conference.

Professional activities and awards: The 2013 recipient of the Sue Townsend Award by the SC Coroner’s Association.

Gary Watts, the Richland County Coroner, is no stranger to public service. Prior to being elected as Coroner in 2001, he served as the Deputy Coroner in Richland County for more than 15 years. Since his career with the Coroner’s Office began in 1980 Watts has been involved in over 32, 000 death investigations. His professional experience also includes having served as a police officer, an Emergency Medical Technician, and an investigator with the Richland County Public Defender’s Office.

Gary Watts’ education prepared him for a career in public service. He is a graduate of the Institute of Police Technology and Management, University of North Florida in Jacksonville, Florida. (This includes traffic, homicide, investigations, advanced traffic and traffic accident reconstruction). He also attended the SC Criminal justice Academy and St. Louis University School of Medicine where he received his certification as a Nationally Board Certified Death Investigator, D-ABMDI.

In addition to his experience and education, Gary Watts is also active in professional organizations, providing another avenue for supporting his community. He is a member of the SC Division of the International Association for Identification. He also serves as the President for the SC Coroner’s Association and as Chairman for the Richland County Child Health and Safety Council Child Fatality Review Committee. Gary Watts also served as the former Chairman for Midlands Safe Kids.

Gary Watts’ objective for his tenure as Richland County’s Coroner is to create the most experienced and modern office to work with law enforcement, the legal system, and our citizens. This will ensure that each case is quickly and fairly resolved, and always with respect to those involved. He also endeavors to develop a proactive approach to help reduce injuries and deaths by using new and innovative ideas in the community, with special attention to traffic and other accidental causes.

Watts is a graduate of American Board of Medicolegal Death Investigators at St. Louis Medical School, Instructor at the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy, South Carolina Coroners Association, and International Association of Coroners & Medical Examiners.

He has just over 40 years of experience in the field of death investigation and I have investigated over 55,000 deaths. He’s the current president of the International Association of Coroners and Medical Examiners and an ongoing-member of the South Carolina Coroners Association Board of Directors.

Other Professional activities and awards:

Past President, South Carolina Coroner’s Association (Two Terms)
Chairman, Richland County Child Health and Safety Council Child Fatality Review Committee
Member SC Mass Fatality Response Team
Former Chairman, Midlands Safe Kids
Created nationally recognized C.A.R.E. Team for Richland County residents
Life Point Dove Award winner for 2006
Named SC Coroner of the Year for 2004 by State Child Fatality Advisory Committee
Appointed by Governor Sanford to serve on the SC Domestic Violence Review Team Task Force 2004-2005
Member Emphasis Area Action Team, SC Strategic Highway Safety Plan
Member of Homeland Security Counter Terrorism Coordinating Council
Member of City of Columbia Gang Task Force
Member SC Coroner’s Association Executive Board since 2002
Life Points Award – 2007
Named Coroner of the Year 2008 by SC Coroner’s Association
Named Hero in the Field by Palmetto Health for significant contributions in reducing infant mortality
Member Advisory Board of Directors of Life Point, Inc.
Implemented Medical Examiner system in Richland County
Cribs for Kids Committee member
Co-sponsored and produced video Give Your Baby Room to Breathe
Member SC Children’s Justice Act Task Force
Second Vice President. IACME – Board Member
2013 Sue Townsend Award recipient from SC Coroner’s Association
North American Sudep Registry Advisory Board

Vote Gary Watts for Richland County Coroner in the June 9th election.

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