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A Need for Consistency: Beaufort County Coroner's Office Forensically Improving Their Investigations

Award Information

Award #
Funding Category
Competitive Discretionary
Awardee County
Congressional District
Past Project Period End Date
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2021, $113,227)

Our mission is to have compassion for the living and respect for the dead.  Everyone is loved by somebody and each death should be handled with dignity regardless of the circumstances.  Coroners offices hold immense responsibility to the public they serve.  Therefore, it is imperative that the services we provide are up to industry and professional standards.  The primary goal of this project is to develop and implement accreditation standards to the Beaufort County Coroner’s Office.  Accreditation through the International Association of Coroners and Medical Examiners (IACME) is currently our best option for ensuring written policy and consistency within our office. Accreditation will also allow for proper field training to be accessed by employees.

Our main focus will be on creating written procedures for our investigators to use to successfully carry out an investigation in a systematic and professional way.  Other objectives include concentrating on proper statistical records maintenance, annual public reporting, disaster preparedness, improved training, and better documentation, which will enable us to develop a publicly accessible annual report.  These reports will also act as a way for the community to better understand the role of the Coroner’s Office.  One of our most important objectives is the creation of a disaster preparedness plan for emergency and disaster situations.  Because tropical storms and hurricanes are a reality in our coastal community, it is imperative that we have methods that allow us to enhance our services during these weather events.

All of these modifications will advance and strengthen the consistency of our death investigations.  The Coroner’s Office will meet these standards by dedicating time and effort to carry out proper operational procedures.  Our plan is to hire staff whose sole purpose will be to elevate our facility to this accreditation standard.  Their job will be to write, implement, and hold investigators accountable to the new guidelines.  With these items closely examined, we will be able to solve our procedure problems as well as be better prepared to aid and build trust with the public.  This will ultimately provide victims and their families the ability to receive justice.

Date Created: November 9, 2021