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County of Riverside - Sheriff-Coroner's FY17 Coverdell Forensic Sciences Improvement Grant

Award Information

Award #
Awardee County
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2017, $43,004)

Riverside County, located in Southern California, is the 4th largest county in size and population in California. Riverside County is roughly the size of New Jersey with a population of over 2.3 million people.

The Riverside County Sheriff-Coroner’s Department (County Coroner’s Office) operates two forensic centers, located in the Cities of Perris and Indio, to accommodate the expansive geographical area and high caseload of the county.

Death investigations have increased by nearly 1,000 cases each year, with 2016 reaching the highest number of calls for service at over 14,000 cases. Over 1,500 cases required autopsies, with an additional 700-800 external examinations.

The County Coroner’s Office forensic pathologists perform autopsies on over 100 homicides cases each year, as well as complex infant/child deaths, and officer involved or in-custody related deaths. This volume of complex cases has required review of current practices and implementation of more efficient methods to reduce backlog and improve the quality of forensic services.
The Coroner’s Office utilizes the National Association of Medical Examiner’s guidelines for standard operating procedures.

Our forensic pathologists perform over 250 autopsies per year, calling attention to the need for a more efficient method of capturing information on complex cases while still having access to the decedent and data obtained during autopsy. A more efficient dictation method is needed to ensure reduction of backlog, accuracy of complex cases, and thoroughness of autopsy protocols.
The Coroner’s Office is tasked with identification of decedents.

Many unidentified cases require dental comparison due to charring, decomposition or other disfiguring factors. Our Indio facility lacks a DEXIS System requiring Perris facility staff to transport the County’s only DEXIS System, risking damage to the equipment, or transport of human remains, 150 miles, back and forth across the county. Identification of over 400 initially unidentified persons annually requires the addition of a DEXIS Digital X-ray System for the Indio facility to reduce backlog and increase timeliness of identification. The project purpose is to acquire a DEXIS System for our Indio center and a hands-free wireless dictation system for both centers. Additionally, a second monitor will be mounted at the five forensic pathologist’s workstations for ease of viewing autopsy photographs and other pertinent documentation.

Purchases will increase efficiency thereby reducing backlog and ensuring improvement in the quality of forensic services.


Date Created: September 29, 2017