Coroner Buglio announces election bid
Lehigh County Coroner Daniel A. Buglio has announced his candidacy for election as coroner.
His current term ends in January 2024.
Buglio, who has served in the coroner’s office for almost 24 years, says he wants to continue his service to county residents, showing care, compassion and experience to the people and families he serves.
Having served as a police officer, he worked part time with the Slatington and Coplay police departments.
Buglio began in the coroner’s office as a deputy coroner, was promoted to first deputy/operations manager in April 2019 and accepted the appointment of coroner in April 2022.
According to Buglio, the Lehigh County Coroner’s Office and Forensic Center was the first office in the commonwealth to be nationally accredited by the International Association of Coroners and Medical Examiners, noting only five other agencies out of 67 in the commonwealth are accredited.
The Lehigh County Coroner’s Office and Forensic Center is a 24/7 operation that investigates approximately 9,000 deaths annually, a number that continues to increase.
There is a staff of 14 full-time employees and eight part-time employees. This includes: chief deputy coroner, first deputy coroner, field supervisor, deputy/investigators, morgue technicians, radiology technicians and secretarial staff.
In September 2005, Buglio became a certified diplomate with the American Board of Medicolegal Death Investigators and has obtained numerous certifications and completed hundreds of training hours.
“In my seven-month tenure as coroner, I have brought several accomplishments to the office, including reorganizing his management staff, with promotions from within, including the chief deputy coroner, first deputy/operations manager and reclassifying a deputy position to a field supervisor/community liaison deputy,” Buglio said. “I have restructured the office schedule, with the addition of supervisors working a day/middle rotation, thus allowing supervisors to be in office 6 a.m. to 11 p.m.”
Buglio and his staff recently obtained a $100,000 grant from Sen. Pat Browne, R-16th, for communication upgrades and continues to research and apply for grants that would help the county Coroner’s Office and Forensic Center obtain state-of the-art equipment.
Additionally, vehicle dashcams were installed in the coroner’s fleet vehicles, iPads were obtained for deputy/investigators to use real time on-scene case entry and for investigative purposes, an online credit card system was installed to assist funeral directors with cremation billing, replacing the paper system used more than 25 years.
“I have updated and modernized Lehigh County Coroner’s Office and Forensic Center policies and procedures, introducing some procedural changes,” Buglio said. “This update keeps the LCCOFC more in tune with today’s ever changing society and current opioid crisis.”
Buglio says he started and, with his staff, continues to entertain a very successful community outreach program.
“This program offers facility tours, job shadowing, PowerPoint presentations at community events, school groups and hospital institutions,” Buglio said.
“Until the start of this program, the general public was not exactly aware of what the role of the coroner’s office is, what exactly we do or the facility and equipment we have.
“Opening our doors to the public and community groups has provided that knowledge and qualms the curiosity of our duties.”
Buglio says the staff of the coroner’s office has participated in numerous community events, including several community parades within Lehigh County.
“Additionally, the LCCOFC has a very active social media page, that has proved useful for locating next-of-kin when needed and also gives an inside behind-the-scenes look at the staff and office, again an outreach tool that has been proven to be very successful,” Buglio said.
“I welcome and appreciate all the support I have gained and continue to receive from meeting new people every day.”
Buglio, admits even though the coroner is a 24/7 position with much responsibility, he strives to make himself available at any time to his staff, media, law enforcement and most of all to the public he serves.
“There is no other place I would want to be,” Buglio said. “With plenty of work that still needs to be done and a vision of goals that carries far into the future, I welcome the opportunity to continue my service to the residents of Lehigh County and the numerous agencies I and my office work with on a daily basis.”
Buglio says the LCCOFC has an outstanding working relationship with local law enforcement agencies, county agencies, hospital networks and funeral agencies - relationships that continue to grow and assist the office in its overall success.
“I see the coroner’s office as an apolitical office,” Buglio said. “I can’t promise to lower your taxes, make your community safer or your health care better but I can give you care, compassion and experience. In a coroner career, that is what matters.”
Buglio, member of the Lehigh County Suicide Prevention Coalition Task Force and Substance Use Task Force, co-chairs the Lehigh County Child Death Review Team.
He resides in South Whitehall Township with his husband, Eric, a registered nurse.