Darrell D. Sabbs Jr. Gives an Interview on His Race for Coroner

Published 2:52 pm Tuesday, April 16, 2024

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Darrell D. Sabbs Jr. recently gave an interview on his race for Coroner. He told why he believed he was qualified for the job, referencing his experience as a funeral director.  “I’m very community driven. I do this type of work every day.”

Sabbs talked about his family’s history in the funeral home trade, starting with his great-grandfather, John L. Barnum Senior. “I’m the sixth-generation funeral director here at Barnum funeral home. So we have a very, very long and deep tradition here in our community, where we’ve been serving this community since 1905. My mother has been taking this business for the past 35 plus years, she’s taking it to a different height. And I’m trying to take the business to a different height.”

He talked about carving his own path. “What I’m trying to do right now is actually create a new story.  I’m following in their footsteps, but also just kind of creating my own.”

Sabbs stated that he has worked at his family’s funeral home almost his entire life. “So I know what it means to empathize with families, I know how difficult it can be for people to kind of overcome those difficult moments and people want answers. I even had my own situation where I was 15 and my brother had passed unknowingly.”

He talked about how difficult it was to get answers during his brother’s death, and how that motivated him. “This particular job, this elected position, has always kind of intrigued me somewhat.”

Sabbs told about how he had first hand experiences with the reactions of families during a first call. He talked about how it was important for the Coroner to be present. “This is taxpayer’s dollars that we’re putting into an elected position. And I think that a lot of our community knows, as well as I do going on these first calls, that our Coroner, our elected official, does not show up. And I think being present, and being there to help families, kind of get through that process is very, very important. Because they want to know that you care.”

He made further remarks on the current Coroner’s office. “I think deputy Mathis Wright does a great job. He has earned every bit of my respect, but he’s not running for office.”

Sabbs also addressed costs. “I also think that because I have my own facility, I can decrease the budget for the actual coroner’s office.”

He also talked about implementing programs to reduce gun violence. “One is a gun violence Summit, not one that is led by community leaders, but one that is led by actually the community, people in the community who want to speak out, who want to say something, and not a video.”

Sabbs noted how gun crime affects a broad swath of the community not usually awknowledged. “Those peoples who have committed the crime also have a family too. They also have a family that’s affected, because now that person may be incarcerated, or they may be killed, but they have children, they have brothers, they have sisters as well.”

Sabbs is running as a democrat. “I am proud to say that I am a Democrat. I don’t think I would trade that for anything in the world.”

He expressed willingness to work with both parties. “I think I’m probably the only candidate in this coroner’s race that can actually unify both parties.”

Sabbs stated there was a requirement for Coroner Elect to complete training within 180 days. He also mentioned relevant experience from his time as a funeral director.

He responded to questions about how he would respond in a mass casualty crisis: “I think I could respond well. Like I said, I’m very, very resourceful.”

Sabbs mentioned having his funeral home staff as his liberty. “I’m pretty sure that our law enforcement will be very, very engaged. And we can come up with a plan of action for any type of those mass casualty incidents.”

When asked if he felt qualified to make the hard decisions when the cause of death was unclear, he responded: “I wouldn’t stop until I found out what that cause of death was. I’m kind of relentless. I work tirelessly, through the middle of the night.”