SHEFFIELD, Ala. (WHNT) – The Alabama Coroner’s Association (ACA) is hosting their annual conference in Sheffield starting on Tuesday, April 25.

Colbert County Coroner Justin Gasque told News 19 the three-day conference will cover a variety of topics including new technology and legislation.

“We’ll have classes all day today, all day tomorrow, and then Thursday we’ll have a few classes,” Gasque said. “Then we’ll have a business meeting and be doing some elections.”

Brian Pierce, Vice President of the ACA, told News 19 that many of the conference’s classes will deal with situations in which there may be mass casualties.

“Getting together and getting to know each other now, with the EMA, with the sheriff’s office, with our sister counties, is paramount for us to move forward during those times of crisis,” Pierce said. “It’s not the time to learn, during the crisis. It’s before the crisis.”

Pierce later said that coroners have a very unique relationship with their communities because, in many cases, they are one of the first people to talk to families after a loved one has passed away.

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Pierce said that they also share information on how to respect those families and communicate with them.

“We learn how to deal with families from a tragedy standpoint because it is a tragedy,” Pierce said. “But in many cases, we still have to treat that tragedy as evidence. And there’s a very thin line to walk there.”

This is the first time that the conference has been held in Colbert County. Representatives from 47 Alabama counties were in attendance for the conference’s opening ceremony.