Medicolegal Death Investigator
- What Success Looks Like In This Job
The Medicolegal Death Investigator /Deputy Coroner is primarily responsible for the investigation of unexpected, unnatural, and/or unexplained deaths that fall under the jurisdiction of the Office. The Office of the Coroner is governed by state law and is responsible for investigating unexpected, unexplained, and/or unnatural deaths that occur within, or are related to incidents occurring within, Adams and Broomfield Counties. The Office serves a total of ten municipalities and one town, and covers a geographic area of approximately 1,200 square miles. The Office receives approximately 4,000 reported deaths per year. Each death investigator handles approximately 400 reported deaths per year and responds to approximately 200 death scenes per year. The Office's primary responsibilities are to conduct death investigations with the purpose of ascertaining the cause and manner of death of individuals that die under the jurisdiction of the office; establish the identity of the deceased; and notify the decedent's legal next-of-kin that his/her death has occurred. Work is characterized by independent planning and decision making, logical reasoning, and problem solving. Investigator must possess good communication and time management skills, take initiative, exercise good judgment, pay strict attention to detail, be able to multi-task, follow directives, and adhere to policies, procedures, and standards of practice. Investigator must be able to work efficiently independently and collectively, delegate appropriately, work with frequent interruptions, and effectively handle emergency/crisis situations. Work involves a variety of sensitive and confidential material. The ideal candidate is organized, self-motivated, adaptable, detail oriented, mature, dedicated, and able to work under heightened emotional situations and unpleasant conditions. The Investigator is a representative of the Office of the Coroner and is involved in a myriad of interpersonal contacts. Such contacts require a high degree of interpersonal communication skills, professionalism, tact, and etiquette. Environmental Demands The investigator spends approximately 70% of the time in an office environment and approximately 30% of the time in a field environment with associated conditions and hazards. The job involves exposure to and direct interaction with malodors, decomposed bodies, contagious diseases, vermin, and other hazards, as well as traumatic deaths, such as child and elder abuse/neglect cases, mass fatalities, violent homicides, motor vehicle fatalities, and mutilated and severed remains.
- Examples of Duties for Success
The following duty statements are illustrative of the essential functions of the job and do not include other non-essential or marginal duties that may be required. The omission of specific duties does not necessarily exclude them from the position requirements. The Chief Coroner reserves the right to modify or change the duties or essential functions of the job at any time.
Working under the general supervision of the Deputy Chief Coroner and Lead Medicolegal Death Investigator, the Medicolegal Death Investigator:
· Gathers, reviews, and/or interprets a variety of written documents, independently or at the direction of executive staff. Documents include, but are not limited to: scene reports, medical/ psychological records, legal documents, police/EMS records, toxicology records, and autopsy reports.
· Writes comprehensive case reports.
· Establishes jurisdiction of death cases and responds to death scenes. May pronounce the death, and take custody of the deceased.
· Conducts thorough death scene investigations, including photographing the death scene and the decedent, and conducting interviews.
· Determines investigative technique, scope, timing, and direction of investigations.
· Coordinates with law enforcement agencies in the preservation and collection of evidence, maintenance of chain-of-custody, and processing of the death scene.
· Identifies the deceased and locates the decedent's primary next-of-kin. Notifies the next-of-kin of the death and interviews the next-of-kin.
· Acts as a liaison to the bereaved: obtains and relays case information and applicable resources.
· Interacts with a myriad of agencies and representatives to conduct investigation follow-up.
· Collects, inventories, and secures the decedent's medications and property.
· Performs radiographs and external examinations on the deceased.
· Conducts, obtains, or assists with the intake, collection, maintenance, and/or disposition of: bio-hazardous materials/waste, fingerprints, property, evidence, toxicology, histology, medications, specimens, and the deceased.
· Maintains and inventories investigative equipment and supplies.
· Cleans and maintains office, morgue, vehicles, and equipment.
· Operates and maintains scene, morgue, and autopsy equipment.
· Operates a variety of office equipment.
· Answers telephone calls.
· Assists with autopsies and associated cleaning duties as assigned.
· May perform additional administrative tasks and case reviews as assigned.
· May be called upon to testify in court proceedings.
· May greet public and perform clerical tasks.
· May instruct and direct interns and volunteers.
· May represent agency or present at public outreach events and public education functions.
· Performs other duties as assigned.
- Qualifications for Success
Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities:
· Must be able and willing to work a changing and rotating schedule: days, evenings, graveyard shifts, weekends, and holidays; additionally: on-call, emergent response, upon short notice, and extra shifts as needed.
· Must be able and willing to work during inclement weather and under stressful circumstances.
· Must be able and willing to work with the deceased and with the conditions listed in Environmental Demands and Physical Demands.
· Must be willing to attend training/continuing education, which may include in and out-of-state travel, as assigned.
· Must be able to type at least 40 words per minute and write in a clear, concise, organized, and professional manner for the intended audience.
· Must properly use the English language: spelling, grammar, and punctuation.
· Must have developing knowledge of medical terminology, anatomy and physiology.
· Must have developing knowledge of investigative best practices and techniques.
· Must have developing knowledge of proper handling and processing of evidentiary material.
· Must have developing knowledge of state and local laws regarding deaths and human remains.
· Skill in working with human remains.
· Skill in digital photography and photography equipment.
· Skill in interacting with distraught and sometimes hostile bereaved individuals.
· Skill in typing and operating office equipment.
· Skill in preparing comprehensive reports.
· Ability to assist with autopsy procedures.
· Ability to work independently and collectively.
· Ability to execute and follow policies, procedures, standards of practice, and oral/written directives.
· Ability to anticipate and initiate collection of needed follow-up information and case progress.
· Ability to exercise good judgment, react appropriately in emergency or stressful situations, exercise persuasive and tactful authority.
· Ability to establish and maintain an effective working relationship with co-workers, other agencies, and the general public.
- More Qualifications for Success
Education and Experience:
A high school diploma or GED equivalent AND at least two years of full-time (1,500+ hours per year), relevant experience in one of the following disciplines: death/crime sceneinvestigation, autopsy/surgical assisting, law enforcement, emergency medical services, nursing, physical anthropology, or organ/tissue procurement, in the last ten years.
An Associate's Degree or higher, from an accredited institution, in one of the following
disciplines: human biology, physical anthropology, autopsy/surgical assisting, law
enforcement, nursing, emergency medical services.
A Bachelor's Degree or higher, from an accredited institution, in any field, AND satisfactory completion of a one-year (1200+ hours), death investigation/autopsy assistant internship at a Coroner/Medical Examiner Office.
A Bachelor's Degree or higher, from an accredited institution, in any field, AND satisfactory completion of the following human science undergraduate courses:
-Biology I (for science majors)
-Biology II (for science majors)
-Anatomy I and II (for science majors)
-Physiology I and II (for science majors)
*Preferred candidate has both relevant education and actual medicolegal death investigation experience. American Board of Medicolegal Death Investigators Basic or Advanced certification is also preferred.
License or Certificate:
· Must possess a valid unrestricted driver's license and have a Colorado State driver's license prior to start of employment.
· Must obtain American Board of Medicolegal Death Investigators Registry Certification and Colorado Coroners Association Death Investigation Certification within 36 months of employment. (Office funds certification expenses and associated maintenance of certification).
· Must successfully pass a criminal background investigation, motor vehicle record review, education and employment background investigation, character assessment, polygraph examination, psychological examination, medical evaluation, drug test, and typing skill test.
· Must have no felony convictions.
· Must have no major driving violations or driving suspensions within the last five years and have no more than three driving violations within the last five year period.