Coroner Forensic Technician (#423120)
$30.57-$37.15 Hourly / $5,298.17-$6,439.96 Monthly / $63,578.03-$77,279.49 Yearly
Apply as a Transfer to Comparable Class applicant


Assists the pathologist in performing autopsies; preparing bodies of deceased persons for autopsy examination and final disposition; performs other duties as required.


Incumbents carry out established procedures in handling, transportation and preparing deceased persons for post-mortem examination.  Incumbents in this class assist in performing autopsies utilizing basic knowledge of tests, procedures and equipment.

Supervision Received and Exercised

Receives general supervision from the Chief Coroner.  

Exercises no supervision.

Essential Duties

Removes and transports bodies including decomposed bodies and associated personal property to the morgue and insures their custodial security.  Documents the proper identity of bodies upon arrival and departure from the central morgue; identifies, inventories and stores property of deceased.  Weights, measures and externally examines the body; undresses, collects, inventories and packs the clothing and personal property for proper storage; assists in the recognition and protection of all evidence that may be found on the deceased.  

Removes a specified body from morgue refrigerator, verifies, body's identity and cleans the deceased's facial features for viewing of the deceased by the deceased's family for identification.  

Prepares body for post-mortem examination and pathological study by setting up necessary equipment, instruments and solutions; cleans and washes when appropriate and prepares the deceased for forensic autopsy.  Takes X-rays of the deceased; makes sure that all of the necessary charts and medical histories that were obtained by the Coroner Investigator are present for the pathologist review.  

Opens the cranium, thoracic and abdominal cavities using tools such as scalpel and hand operated electric powered base cutters.  Excises and dissects organs and specimens such as liver, bile and stomach contents [using instruments such as scissors and knives]; obtains and labels blood samples and other body fluids for toxicological examination.

Records weight of organs and body fluids; prepares specimens for cultures; labels and files pathologic specimens; performs minor laboratory work; prepares and labels surgical specimens for examination; insures proper storage of surgical pathological specimens.  Sutures and cleans bodies after autopsies; returns bodies to morgue refrigerator; prepares bodies for release to mortician after post-mortem examination.  

Assists the pathologist in examining physical evidence such as bullets, power burns, knives, pills and other foreign objects; records physical evidence, notifies proper personnel as requested by pathologist.  Photographs human bodies, specimens and organs on prescribed cases; performs limited toxicology screens on specimens obtained from the autopsy; relinquishes retrieved missiles to the investigating officers in homicide cases; secures supplies; sterilizes and replaces surgical instruments used in autopsies.  

Operates removal van used in picking up bodies from hospitals, nursing homes, highways, residences, levies, rivers and bays, mountain slopes and other places where a dead body might be found; maintains van inventory including stretchers, straps, sheets and other necessary supplies.   

May be required to fly in aircraft, use boats, operate vehicles, or travel in heavy equipment to conduct a removal with the Coroner Investigator.  

Maintains autopsy room in clean and orderly manner; sterilizes instruments and equipment; checks for adequate ventilation and condition of equipment; delivers soiled linen to laundry; returns cleaned linen to morgue and store room; maintains safety procedures and decorum of facility, and does other related sanitation work as required.  

Keeps a log on morgue activities; writes receipts for bodies, clothing and personal property; fingerprint bodies in accordance with departmental standards; keeps records and performs clerical tasks as assigned.

Knowledge, Skills & Abilities

Knowledge of:
Office practices,
Mortuary science and funeral practices, including aseptic and antiseptic procedures. 
Rules of evidence and of procedures to protect evidence and personal property,
Basic anatomy. 
Skills to:
Utilize basic office equipment; use a computer to gather and analyze data.
Drive a motor vehicle.
Ability to:
Understand and explain laws, regulations and policies governing the operation of the Coroner's Office.
Handle remains of deceased persons, including opening and closing the body, assist the pathologist during any autopsy; work effectively under unpleasant conditions.
Deal effectively with distraught persons;
Use post-mortem techniques and procedures make decisions and independent judgments.
Communicate effectively with people of diverse socioeconomic backgrounds and temperaments who are under extreme duress and in grief.
Establish and maintain cooperative working relationships.
Determine the appropriate course of action in emergency or stressful situations.
Maintain accurate records and document actions taken; follow written and oral instructions.

Education and Experience

Experience: Twelve months experience equivalent to Coroner Forensic Technician Entry Level, Hospital Morgue Attendant, Embalmer, Diener, Deputy Coroner, Autopsy Assistant, Coroner Aide. 
Education/Training: Vocational/technical training in medical-legal death investigation, forensic science, criminal investigation, or criminal justice.


Possession of or ability to obtain a valid Class C California Driver's license is required.


Physical Ability:  Tasks require the regular and, at times, sustained performance of moderately physically demanding work, typically involving some combination of climbing and balancing, stooping, kneeling, crouching, and crawling, and that may involve the lifting, carrying, pushing, and/or pulling of moderately heavy objects and materials (20-50 pounds); may occasionally involve heavier objects and materials (100 pounds or over).


Sensory Requirements:  Some tasks require the ability to perceive and discriminate colors or shades of colors, odor, depth, texture, and visual cues or signals.  Some tasks require the ability to communicate orally.


Environmental Factors: Performance of essential functions may require exposure to adverse environmental conditions, such as dirt, dust, odors, temperature extremes, fumes, smoke, hazardous materials, traffic hazards, toxic agents, disease, pathogenic substances, or violence.


Independent travel will be required.


Incumbents must be able to work in a morgue/autopsy/funeral environment which will include meeting distraught families.


Incumbents must also be willing to work shifts, variable hours, standby and overtime and are subject to be called out at night, on weekends and holidays.


May testify in court proceedings.

CLASS: 423120; EST: 4/1/1992;