Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2018, $271,960)
The Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection (DESPP) continues to experience budgetary challenges and growing backlogs as about 8,500 cases are received annually. This limits the improvement of forensic services, training of analysts, and updating of older equipment.
The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner (OCME) will continue to provide professional development for the agency medical examiners, for those physicians who investigate sudden, violent, and suspicious deaths and perform those autopsies to carry out professional duties to an acceptable accreditation set of standards in forensic medicine.
The opioid crisis has greatly affected the OCME with nearly triple the number of drug intoxication deaths over the past 5 years. DSS has also been affected with a 177% increase in cases involving fentanyl, a strong opioid, that that has created a public safety risk for law enforcement officers and forensic staff. OCME will use funds for staff professional development. The OCME will use funds to support increased toxicology testing and transportation costs associated with the opioid crisis.
DESPP will use funds for professional development, supplies, equipment to protect staff from opioid exposure, training, reimbursement of annual dues/certifications to professional organizations. OCME will use funds for staff professional development.
The OCME will use funds to support increased toxicology testing and transportation costs associated with the opioid crisis. OCME will use grant funds to maintain the highest level of professional staff to address 2,400+ autopsies annually and for increase in body transport and toxicology testing for opioid cases only.