Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2022, $247,992)
This grant request is to improve the coroner services provided by the Clark County Office of the Coroner and Medical Examiner in Clark County, NV. by implementation and utilization of new technologies and processes to preserve case files, evidence for identified and unidentified persons. This will enable the Clark County Office of the Coroner and Medical Examiner to ensure it adheres to evidence-based methodologies and relevant best practices; as well as compliance with responsibilities created by Federal, state and county statute and policy. The funding will improve quality, timeliness, recall capabilities and ensuring permanence of records and documents for the future in Clark County Office of the Coroner Medical Examiner.
Technological advances are developed with stunning regularity; resulting in familial and offender DNA collected/stored and more readily available for comparison. From these comparisons, cold cases can be solved decades later because of new technologies and preserved evidence. Working with community and law enforcement partners, perpetrators will be identified because of newly collected DNA and relationships with direct-to-consumer genetic genealogy services such as 23 and Me or subsequent to a recent arrest then compared to old evidence. This can and has led to successful prosecutions for offenders who were not previously held accountable for their actions. Even more importantly, families receive closure because unidentified remains become identified. In order for this to occur, it is imperative to have the ability to preserve and recall information and evidence from old case files.
Currently, the Clark County Office of the Coroner and Medical Examiner possesses approximately 300 cases of unidentified remains, the oldest of these cases dates to 1969. Additionally, the Clark County Office of the Coroner and Medical Examiner retains approximately 2500 documents and records that have yet to be transferred to a permanent digital format with reproducible capabilities. The project proposes to review and assess aged and cold case files. Create high resolution copies of documents to preserve readability, scan documents and photos and upload to electronic case management system as considered best practice in A Landscape Study of Electronic Case Management Systems for Medical Examiners and Coroners February 2022, National Institute of Justice’s Forensic Technology Center of Excellence (FTCoE).