Eric Blach is moving to Knoxville to take the reins at UT Regional Forensic Center.
Blach, a 22-year employee of Bradley County, has accepted the position of chief operating officer for the Regional Forensic Center. He has tendered his resignation with the local ME’s office, as well as a post he held for the same period with the Bradley County Emergency Medical Service as a critical care paramedic.
His last day with BCEMS was Monday and his final day at the ME’s office will be Friday.
He has been the ME’s office administrator for approximately seven years with a total of 17 years as an investigator.
In his new position, Blach said he will oversee administration of death investigations for Knox and Anderson counties. The Forensic Center also performs autopsies for other counties.
Death investigation is the first step in the process before determination an autopsy may be warranted, according to Blach.
“Certain situations, sometimes the obvious, help a death investigator determine if there is a need for autopsy. Dr. Jeffrey Miller, chief ME, is a great steward of the funding for autopsy and is very judicious in decisions if an autopsy may be needed,” Blach said.
“The population in the area is approximately 600,000 — Bradley County has approximately 100,000 residents,” Blach said.
“Bradley County has always been progressive in medical service and other areas,” Blach explained.
“Locally, we are leaders in medical examiner’s death investigations because we follow state guidelines and have three certified investigators,” Blach said.
Seventeen years ago when Blach first stepped into the Medical Examiner’s Office as an investigator, he said they worked out of the back of their cars.
“Now we have specialized vehicles that are equipped for the purpose of evidence collection and other uses,” Blach said.
For the past six years, Blach has been the ME administrator.
In his new position, Blach will oversee day-to-day operations of death investigations in the Knox and Anderson county areas.
“I appreciate the opportunities I have had in Bradley County. Many doors have been opened through the progress of both Emergency Medical Service and the Medical Examiner’s Office. As I said before, Bradley County has always been progressive and a great model for others across the state,” Blach said.
Blach is one of only four certified fellows of the American Board of Legal Medical Investigators in Tennessee.
Blach will begin the new job Wednesday.
Laura Wittmaier will be taking the position of administrator at the Bradley County Medical Examiner’s Office. She has submitted a resignation letter to BCEMS effective Wednesday.
Wittmaier is a 10-year veteran of BCEMS, has worked for six years with the ME’s office, according to Stan Clark, BCEMS spokesman.
“They are both going to be missed here at the ambulance service,” said Chief Danny Lawson of Bradley County EMS. “I am very proud of both of them and wish them the best of luck in their new careers. Eric and Laura both reflect what it means to be a servant to others.