Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2016, $227,904)
In January of 2015, the Charleston County Coroners Office (Coroners Office) underwent an onsite evaluation by Accreditation Auditors from the International Association of Coroners & Medical Examiners as the Coroners Office was seeking national accreditation. The Coroners Office was awarded that national accreditation however the auditors provided suggestions for improvement to include moving the Coroners Office to a new office environment, with room to grow, to ensure the improved quality of forensic services provided by the Coroners Office. As a result of that recommendation, Charleston County government purchased a standalone building for the Coroners Office in order to meet the recommendations and the growing needs of the Coroners Office and forensic services in Charleston County. This project, Improving the Quality of Forensic Science and Coroner Services in Charleston County, South Carolina will be used to improve the quality and timeliness of forensic science services in the Coroners Office by ensuring that the safety, security, management and storage of all physical evidence, biological material, bodies and case management records are preserved under one roof, under the safety and security of the Coroners Office, for the proper amount of time as required by law and maintained in such a manner to ensure the forensic quality of the evidence and records for many years to come.
The primary goal of the project is to develop and implement an all-inclusive forensic science facility which will meet the long term needs of the Coroners Office to include: (1) The addition of a forensic autopsy examination suite; (2) The addition of a walk-in morgue and family viewing area; (3) Improvements to the forensic evidence management storage system to ensure long term capabilities for storage of physical and biological evidence as required by the Preservation of Evidence Act; (4) The implementation of a long term high density mobile case management storage system for case files and records the Coroners Office is required by South Carolina state statute to maintain. All of these changes will improve the quality of forensic evidence and records in the custody of the Coroners Office.