The Hippo


May 31, 2020








 What else are you really into?

Last summer, we started doing outdoor cooking … in the backyard on Dutch ovens over a fire pit. 

Kim Fallon
Chief Forensic Investigator


 Explain what your current job is.

It’s pretty varied. I supervise the death investigators, who are called assistant deputy medical examiners, or ADMEs. We have one on at every county, 24/7. Then I deal with a lot of the office issues, like identification of bodies and dealing with funeral homes and police departments and talking to families. I also have a couple grants with the CDC. … One of the grants is on sudden unexpected infant deaths, the other one is sudden death in the young. … And then the other grant is the National Violent Death Reporting System. So I oversee those in the office also. … I’m also dealing with bodies in the morgue that nobody makes arrangement for. … We do those drug [overdose] data updates. We try to do it once a month, just me and my part-time evidence tech. 
How long have you worked there?
I was hired as the chief forensic investigator in 2005.
How did you get interested in this kind of work?
I met Roger Fossum, who was the first state chief medical examiner. He was telling me … how they were going to be training people to go out to scenes … and it was interesting to me but I didn’t act on it for a few years. Then, a few years later, I called them up and I got trained [as an ADME] in the office — this was, like, 1992 — and started doing cases in 1993. … I had been doing that until 2005, when the chief forensic investigator position opened up.
What kind of education or training did you need for this?
For the ADME position, we hire … people that have backgrounds as paramedics, nurses or physician assistants and then we train them. When I started, I had a bachelor’s in biology and I was a paramedic. … There wasn’t any formal education [for chief forensic investigator]. I’ve just gone to a lot of conferences. … I worked in public health for about four years before I got the job in the medical examiner’s office. … I worked in disease surveillance. That was helpful because I learned how the state works and a lot about data. 
How did you find your current job?
I was also one of the ADMEs, so we all knew that the previous chief forensic investigator had left and that there was an opening. So I applied for it.
What’s the best piece of work-related advice anyone’s ever given you?
When I started … in the chief forensic investigator position, our former chief, Dr. Thomas Andrew, … told me not to get burnt out, which didn’t even really occur to me at the time, but I can definitely see how it could happen. There’s just so much work to do and we’re such a small staff.
What do you wish you’d known at the beginning of your career?
It would be great to have the experience when you start, but that’s such a long process of acquiring experience. … The whole thing was a journey and I was acquiring experience all the way that led me to the job that I have now.
What is your typical at-work uniform?
It’s kind of business casual. It depends; if I’m going to a meeting or I’m doing some public speaking, then I get more businessy. 
What was the first job you ever had?
I was a … soda jerk [at a] soda fountain [in] Terryville, Connecticut. 
— Ryan Lessard 

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