Under general supervision, conducts investigations to identify deaths that fall under the jurisdiction of the Coroner’s Office and to determine the cause and manner of deaths; determines the identification of the deceased and notifies the next of kin; collects and preserves forensic evidence; collects and reviews medical records; safeguards the personal effects of the decedent; prepares and submits reports on the death investigation to the Forensic Pathologist; works closely with all agencies concerned with the decedents death; and performs other related duties as assigned.
Positions in this series are peace officers under Penal Code Section 830.35, Paragraph C, in the Sheriff-Coroner’s Office. These classes are distinguished from other peace officers in the Sheriff’s Office in that persons in these classes are not sworn and do not carry firearms.
Sheriff-Coroner Investigator I: is the entry level classification in the Coroner Investigator job series. Incumbents receive a substantial amount of on-the-job training by working closely with senior staff member(s) and are expected to progressively perform investigative work in a more independent manner.
Sheriff-Coroner Investigator II: is the journey level classification in the Coroner Investigator job series. Incumbents independently perform the duties of the Sheriff-Coroner Investigator with limited supervision. Incumbents also provide technical direction to the Sheriff-Coroner Investigator I .
Sheriff’s Coroner Investigator I
Some knowledge of:
- Basic anatomy, physiology, and medical terminology.
- California Penal Code, Government Code, Health and Safety Code, and Welfare and Institutions Code relating to the function, jurisdiction and authority of the Coroner's Office.
- Principles and techniques of death investigations including interviewing methods and techniques.
- Rules of evidence regarding chain of custody and methods to preserve and safeguard evidence.
- Office procedures, methods, and equipment including computers and applicable software applications, such as word processing, spreadsheets, email, and databases.
Sheriff’s Coroner Investigator II
Working knowledge of:
- All of the above.
- Recent developments, current technology, and trends in the profession.
Sheriff’s Coroner Investigator I & II
- Work closely with Forensic Pathologist when investigating cause, manner, and circumstances of unattended or traumatic deaths.
- Read and understand medical charts.
- Maintain professionalism in tragic and emotional situations.
- Establish and maintain effective working relationships.
- Create accurate and comprehensive reports of the findings of a death investigation.
- Gather, analyze, correlate, and preserve forensic evidence.
- Testify in court.
- Demonstrate effective interpersonal and communication skills.
- Work alone and independently.
- Use critical thinking skills in problem solving.
- Perform strenuous physical activities including lifting and moving dead bodies.
Education and Experience/Training:
Any combination of education and experience which would provide the required knowledge and abilities is qualifying, unless otherwise specified. A typical way to obtain the knowledge and abilities would be:
Graduation from High School or G.E.D certificate and a minimum of an associate degree in forensic science, criminal justice, nursing, or other related fields.
Sheriff-Coroner Investigator I
- One year of experience in a medical, nursing, or investigative field.
- Successful completion of the Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) Coroner's Death Investigation Course and PC 832 Arrest Course, within twelve months of appointment.
- Successful passage of the Registry Certification (Basic) examination from the American Board of Medicolegal Death Investigators (ABMDI), must be completed within two years of appointment.
Sheriff-Coroner Investigator II
- Two years of experience in investigations at a Coroner’s or Medical Examiner’s Office.
- Possession of a valid ABMDI Registration Certificate.
- Successful completion of the Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) Coroner's Death Investigation Course and PC 832 Arrest Course, within six months of appointment.
- Successful passage of the Board Certification (Advanced) examination from ABMDI, must be completed within twelve months of appointment.
- Possession of a valid ABMDI Board Certification.
- Capable of performing all the classification’s essential functions, as summarized in the typical tasks section of this job specification with or without reasonable accommodations.
- Tasks require the ability to manipulate/maneuver up to 100 pounds of body weight, often combined with bending, twisting, or working on irregular surfaces; typically involves some combination of climbing and balancing, stooping, kneeling, crouching, and crawling; occasionally requires hiking in mountainous terrain while carrying equipment.
- Sensory Requirements: Requires the ability to recognize and identify similarities and differences between shade, degree or value of colors, shapes, forms, textures, or physical appearance associated with job-related objects, materials, tasks, or people; occasionally requires ability to differentiate sounds and odors.
- Environmental Factors: Exposure to variable temperatures, confined workspaces, and heights; strong unpleasant odors; infectious bio-hazardous materials, such as blood, urine, and semen, which might cause chronic disease or death; dust, pollens, chemical irritants; toxic substances; individuals who may be hostile and abusive; evidence that may be disturbing, such as homicide evidence.
- Hours: May be required to work flexible hours, shifts, weekends, and holidays and be subject to holdover and callback duty; and to provide a telephone number or means by which employee can be reached.
- License Requirement: Possession and maintenance of valid Class C California Driver License issued by the California State Department of Motor Vehicles by the time of appointment.
- Background Investigation: Ability to pass a full background investigation.