County of Alameda

Chief Forensic Pathologist (#5149)

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Bargaining Unit: Unrep - HCSA Tech/Para Mgmt (U45)
$161.89-$196.71 Hourly / $12,951.20-$15,736.80 BiWeekly /
$28,060.93-$34,096.40 Monthly / $336,731.20-$409,156.80 Yearly


Under general direction, to serve as the primary medical advisor to the Sheriff/Coroner or his/her designee, for cases under the jurisdiction of the Alameda County Coroner's Bureau; to perform professional level, forensic medical evaluation and analysis involved with determining the cause, manner and circumstances of death and injuries sustained by deceased persons; to develop forensic evidence for use in legal proceedings; to testify and serve as an expert witness in concerning findings; to administer and manage the operations in the morgue; and organize, manage and coordinate all forensic medical activities at the Coroner's Bureau.  The Chief Forensic Pathologist is licensed to practice medicine or osteopathy in the State of California and is certified by the American Board of Pathology to practice forensic pathology.




This is a single position class located in the Coroner's Bureau, reporting to the Sheriff/Coroner or his/her designee.  In addition to performing the duties of a forensic pathologist, the incumbent is responsible for the coordination and direction of medical forensic activities conducted by other forensic pathologists.  The position is distinguished from others to which forensic medical responsibilities are assigned by its overall responsibility for the organization and management of the Bureau's forensic medical activities.


NOTE:  The following are the duties performed by employees in this classification.  however, employees may perform other related duties at an equivalent level.  Each individual in the classification does not necessarily perform all duties listed.


1.  Examine the bodies and medical records of deceased individuals submitted to the Coroner's Bureau to determine the time, nature and age of injuries.  Collect and examine forensic evidence potentially appropriate to criminal proceedings.  Perform forensic autopsies; examine tissue removed during such procedures and prepare microscopic reports, interpretations of pathologic diagnoses and causes of death.

2.  Direct toxicology and pathology requests for examination to the appropriate laboratory.

3.  Dictate medical findings and prepare case reports based on personal observations and interpretations listing a formal cause of death and any significant conditions that contribute to the death.

4.  Present interpretations and facts pertaining to evidence as an expert in the field of forensic medicine.  Confer with law enforcement officers, representatives of the offices of the District Attorney and the Public Defender (or defense counsel) as well as other investigators regarding the interpretation and significance of findings.

5.  Coordinate, monitor and balance the assigned workload of forensic pathology staff, including forensic pathologists, Sheriff's Technicians, and other support staff designated medical procedures to be informed consistent with agency policy.

6.  Work with organ donor networks and local hospital professionals to determine the suitability of available organs for organ donor requests.

7.  Monitor and evaluate safety compliance procedures followed by forensic autopsy staff.  Ensure compliance with safety regulations, including safety requirements for working with potentially communicable diseases and biohazards.  Identify communicable diseases and submit reports and notifications to the Department of Public Health as required by law.

8.  Respond to legal requests and testify in court with respect to toxicology, microscopic reports, scene reconstruction, medical evidence interpretation and the mechanisms of injury.

9.  Maintain quality assurance through daily observation and evaluation of work performed by morgue staff; perform periodic reviews of autopsy performance and quality associated reports and complete annual written evaluations for all contract pathologists.

10.  Formulate, revise and promulgate policy pertaining to medical operations within the morgue.  Monitor to evaluate the execution of such policy for effectiveness and evaluate work accomplished.

11.  Track all autopsy protocol reports and take necessary action to ensure they are completed within sixty (60) days of autopsy.

12.  Lead, coordinate, and participate in staff and other agency trainings.

13.  Reviews all contract forensic pathology invoices prior to payment.

14.  Performs other related duties as requested by the Sheriff/Coroner.



Possession of an M.D. or D.O. degree conferred by an accredited medical school.



The equivalent of two years' full-time post forensic residency/fellowship work experience in forensic pathology.



Completion of a recognized residency program leading to board certification in forensic pathology and possession of board certification in forensic pathology by the American Board of Pathology.



Possession of a license to practice medicine or osteopathy in the State of California.


Special Requirements:

  • Duties require twenty-four hour on-call availability to respond to scenes of sudden death or injury, or to respond to hospitals to facility organ donor requests.
  • Duties require exposure to accidental, physical or biological health hazards and disagreeable situations.


NOTE:  The Civil Service Commission may modify the above Minimum Qualifications in the announcement of an examination.


NOTE:  The level and scope of the following knowledge and abilities are related to duties listed under the "Example of Duties" section of this specification.


Knowledge of:

  • State and Federal laws applicable to the practice of forensic pathology.
  • Investigative procedures and the medico-legal techniques required to determine the circumstances, cause and manner of death as required by law.
  • Procedures and techniques utilized in forensic medicine, including medico-legal autopsy, interpretation of forensic toxicology results and interpretation of histology and clinical chemistry results associated with a cause and time of death.
  • Principles of public administration, supervision, and training.

Ability to:

  • Examine decedents for evidence and signs of injuries.
  • Document injuries, collect biological and physical evidence of injuries and interpret them.
  • Perform medico-legal autopsies in accordance with the standards of the Alameda County Coroner's Bureau and the National Association of Medical Examiners.
  • Effectively communicate interpretations of scene reconstruction, medico-legal autopsy, and investigative and observational findings verbally and in writing.
  • Testify clearly, concisely and effectively at public hearings, in courts of law and before the Grand Jury.
  • Learn, and effectively execute the policies and procedures of the Alameda County Coroner's Bureau.
  • Plan, direct and coordinate the works of others.
  • Establish and maintain effective and diplomatic work relationships with members of the legal profession, public, staff, and other government agencies or related entities.
  • Communicate effectively, both orally and in writing.


DS:po 05/19/08

Newspec: 5149.doc

CSC Date: 6/18/2008

EL:kl 07/08/19 CSC

Date: 07/31/19


Alameda County offers a comprehensive and competitive benefits package that affords wide-ranging health care options to meet the different needs of a diverse workforce and their families. We also sponsor many different employee discount, fitness and health screening programs focused on overall well being.  These benefits include but are not limited to*:

For your Health & Well-Being

  • Medical – HMO & PPO Plans
  • Dental – HMO & PPO Plans
  • Vision or Vision Reimbursement
  • Share the Savings
  • Basic Life Insurance 
  • Supplemental Life Insurance (with optional dependent coverage for eligible employees)
  • Accidental Death and Dismemberment Insurance 
  • County Allowance Credit
  • Flexible Spending Accounts - Health FSA, Dependent Care and Adoption Assistance
  • Short-Term Disability Insurance
  • Long-Term Disability Insurance
  • Voluntary Benefits - Accident Insurance, Critical Illness, Hospital Indemnity and Legal Services
  • Employee Assistance Program

For your Financial Future

  • Retirement Plan - (Defined Benefit Pension Plan)
  • Deferred Compensation Plan (457 Plan or Roth Plan)

For your Work/Life Balance

  • 12 paid holidays
  • Floating Holidays
  • Vacation and sick leave accrual
  • Vacation purchase program
  • Management Paid Leave**
  • Catastrophic Sick Leave
  • Group Auto/Home Insurance
  • Pet Insurance
  • Commuter Benefits Program
  • Guaranteed Ride Home
  • Employee Wellness Program (e.g. At Work Fitness, Incentive Based Programs, Gym Membership Discounts)
  • Employee Discount Program (e.g. theme parks, cell phone, etc.)
  • Child Care Resources
  • 1st United Services Credit Union 

*Eligibility is determined by Alameda County and offerings may vary by collective bargaining agreement.  This provides a brief summary of the benefits offered and can be subject to change.

** Non-exempt management employees are entitled to up to three days of management paid leave. Exempt management employees are entitled to up to seven days of management paid leave.