When a death is reported to the coroner, they conduct an investigation concerning the circumstances surrounding the death of an individual and gather and review background information, such as medical information and any other information which may be helpful in determining the cause and manner of death.
"What we are required to do is go out on any deaths that are not under a doctor's care, such as at the hospital. Anything like a home death, Hospice, or a motor vehicle accident; things like that," Barker said.
"We help state troopers investigate the scene and draw for blood alcohol if requested to by the state trooper to send off for testing. Help with removal, and just be there to help take care of things when we are notified. With the troopers we work hand in hand together to make a decision whether or not there needs to be an autopsy done, and that is something we discuss together," he said.
As the Fulton County Coroner, Barker's background in the funeral business equipped him with the knowledge and experience to be proficient in his office.
"The Arkansas Coroners Association is trying to do some changes on this, but there actually is not a lot of training. It is just a lot of on-the-job training. Usually the coroner's office is held by somebody in a funeral home because it is part of their work anyway. Although, some offices in the state are not held by people involved in a funeral home. As far as actual training, we go to some seminars, have literature and on-the-job training," Barker said.
"I have been in the funeral business since the 1980s and the office of coroner just went hand in hand with my job," he said.
"My mom was working at a funeral home and the gentleman that owned the funeral home needed some help pouring a concrete driveway and I never left. 1985 is when I actually started in the funeral business and I opened Barker's Funeral Home in January of 1993," Barker said.