In 12th century England, the power of the Sheriff was a growing entity within the King's
land. To monitor the Sheriff for evidence of dishonesty, the King created the role of
coroner. For each county, four men were selected by the court for the role of "coroner,"
named so because they were meant to serve the "crown." These men brought important concerns
to the attention of the King and investigated any failure to inform the King of
these important matters. The coroners were deemed the only persons within the
county with the power to arrest the Sheriff himself.
By the 16th century, the coroner had become an elected official. While he still
maintained the power to ensure the honesty of public officials, the most prominent role
coroner had become what it is in the United States today: investigating violent
and suspicious deaths.
History of the Kankakee County Coroner's Office
The county of Kankakee was established in April of 1853. The name Kankakee was
derived from an Indian word meaning "Wonderful Land." The first Kankakee County
Coroner, George Cooper, was elected when the County of Kankakee was first
established and served until the following year.