SOMERSET – Since joining the Somerset County Coroner’s Office, Chief Deputy Cullen Swank has handled more than 100 death investigations and helped guide the records process into the electronic age.

Now, Swank is taking a step toward running the office itself.

The Stoystown man is the first to announce a candidacy for coroner, an elected position held by Wallace Miller since the mid-1990s.

Miller announced last year he is not running for reelection, with plans to step down from the job at the end of 2021.

Swank joined the coroner’s office in 2019 and has led the effort to transfer record-filing and recording to an all-digital format by 2022.

But in a release to media, he also pointed to his background working with grieving families as a Deaner Funeral Homes director since 2015 – as well as “close ties” to local law enforcement, hospitals and first responders with which the office works regularly.

Swank is a 2010 graduate of Shanksville-Stonycreek High School.

He attended California University of Pennsylvania before transferring to the Pittsburgh Institute of Mortuary Science, where he graduated with a degree in funeral service arts and sciences, he wrote in a release to media.

Swank said he has completed all the required coursework to be a certified coroner in Pennsylvania and is current on all his continuing education credits.

He and his wife, Emillee, reside in Stoystown, with two stepchildren.

David Hurst is a reporter for The Tribune-Democrat. He can be reached at (814) 532-5053. Follow him on Twitter @TDDavidHurst and Instagram @TDDavidHurst.

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