Faulkner County Judge Jim Baker appointed Robert Edwards as interim Faulkner County Coroner after Pat Moore died suddenly earlier this month.
Edwards has worked in the coroner’s office since 2002 and previously served as one of two deputy coroners. He started riding with Moore as an emergency medical technician (EMT) in 1988 before working with him at the coroner’s office for the past 15 years.
Edwards said accepting the role as interim coroner has helped him cope with Moore’s death.
"It’s gotten easier as the days have gone on," he said. "The first couple of weeks it was hard to just walk into the building."
Edwards said he still takes calls and works on investigations like he did before but he has a lot more administrative duties now.
"I’ve been in the office a lot more than I was before," he said, noting that Moore always handled the administrative side of things. "I’m still trying to figure everything out. The whole office is pulling together to make sure everything is covered."
Baker will appoint a permanent coroner but said he’s not rushing the decision and will seek input from others as he makes the decision.
"I’m in no hurry to make a permanent selection," he said. "Robert’s doing a good job. The staff is really supportive of him. Things are running as good as it possibly could.
"I will involve the sheriff’s office and a small group to look at all the applicants. It’s my authority to make the appointment but I will seek input from anyone interested."
Edwards said he and the rest of the staff will support "whatever decision [Baker] makes 100 percent." He said while there are plenty of qualified candidates, nobody can ever fill Moore’s shoes as coroner.
"I can do the job but as far as filling his shoes, I don’t think there’s anybody that can," he said. "I think any of us could continue to run the office in the manner that [Pat] would proud of but it’s going to be hard to find somebody to replace that knowledge base."