The man who describes his career as a death investigator as almost an accident was sworn in as Putnam County coroner on Friday morning.
Dave Brown, who has 14 years with the coroner's department, took the oath of office from Judge Charles "Denny" Bridges in the Superior Courtroom and will officially assume his new office on Tuesday, Jan. 1.
However, for Brown, who ran unopposed through this year's Republican primary and general election, his association with the coroner's office almost didn't happen.
It was his then-wife who got Brown into photography, the hobby that eventually led him to be a crime scene investigator.
His wife had told him several times they both needed to get hobbies, and Brown would agreed, then do nothing about it.
"About the fourth time she told me, she said, 'I signed up for a class on stained glass, and I signed you up too,'" Brown said.
With no interest in stained glass at all, Brown instead picked up a camera. He got some equipment and took a class and a new hobby was born.
Working at Putnam County Dispatch at the time, Brown had access to local law enforcement and emergency personnel. He began volunteering his services to police and fire departments.
He later approached Coroner Don Pearson about doing the same.
Eventually, Pearson decided there was no reason to have to send both a photographer and an investigator to a death scene, so he urged Brown to take a class to become a certified investigator.
After passing the examination on his first attempt -- a feat achieved by only about 5 percent of test takers -- Brown became a deputy coroner, a position he has held since 2000.
When Thomas Miller became coroner in 2004, Brown became chief deputy, a position that opened him to the idea of running for the elected position.
He plans to return the favor by naming Miller a deputy after his term ends on Jan. 31.
Besides his work with the coroner's office, Brown is employed as a lieutenant at the Putnam County Jail, where he also serves as the jail investigator.
Among his other plans for the department, Brown is hoping to work with Putnam County Hospital to establish a location for the storage of more bodies in Putnam County and possibly a working morgue at the hospital.
His association with law enforcement over the years led him to request that Judge Bridges swear him in. Brown said he has a lot of respect for the Indiana State Trooper-turned-attorney-turned-Superior Court Judge.
The remaining Putnam County officials will be sworn in by Putnam Circuit Court Judge Matthew Headley between now and Jan. 1.