Conducts and supervises investigations of all deaths and related procedures which fall under the jurisdiction of the Office of the Coroner/Medical Examiner. Is a separate law enforcement agent expected to conduct complete medico-legal death investigations, make death notifications to next of kin, assist forensic pathologist with autopsies, maintain a proper chain of custody with all evidence, and comply with all ongoing educational and physical training requirements.
The following statements are illustrative of the duties and responsibilities of the job. The organization retains the right to modify or change the duties and responsibilities of the job at any time.
Knowledge, Skills, & Abilities:
- Receives general supervision from the Coroner, Chief Investigator, and Office Manager.
- Employee will work at the pleasure of the Coroner, as per Colorado Revised Statute: 30-10-602.
- May exercise indirect supervision of volunteers.
- Respond to and investigate death scenes within Larimer County; conduct a complete medicolegal investigation, including photographing and/ or sketching the scene, removing the body or bodies from the scene, and determining date and time of death.
- Perform all necessary steps to positively identify the decedent.
- Identify, collect, preserve and maintain proper chain of custody of all physical evidence pertinent to the death investigation, both on scene and at autopsy; understand and execute all proper protocols in proper release and retention of differing evidence.
- Make death notifications to next of kin; provide assistance to families, the community, and law enforcement; help detect and prevent further crimes and protect public safety during the course of the investigation.
- Interview witnesses, family members, physicians, employers, friends, professionals and others associated with the deceased; compile statements, documents, related factual evidence, medical records and other records that may be related to the death.
- Write complete, accurate, and unbiased reports.
- Examine, understand, and interpret records, including all medical records, needed in a death investigation.
- In rare but critical instances, may be required to detain, arrest, or assist other law enforcement agencies in detaining/ arresting individuals such as: any legal next-of-kin attempting to obtain a weapon from the Coroner's office and who is determined to be a felon or have an outstanding warrant; or any family, roommates, witnesses, or bystanders at a death scene who are interfering with law enforcement investigation, compromising evidence integrity, attempting to hide or retain prescription or illegal drugs; jeopardizing public safety, or other situations as deemed necessary.
- Administer proper procedures in notification of next-of-kin. Provide information and assistance to families.
- Interact with other Law Enforcement, government, and private agencies, such as police/ sheriff, fire, EMS, OSHA, FBI, Consumer Product Safety Commission, DEA, school districts, hospitals, organ donation teams, insurance agencies, and funeral homes.
- Ensure proper release of information to public through press releases and/or media interviews.
- Assist pathologist in the performance of autopsies, including evisceration of body; set up, stock, and clean morgue; collect and log autopsy evidence, including tissue and blood samples, while maintaining proper chain of custody.
- Provide testimony at depositions and in court.
- Provide training and education in the field of forensic death investigation to other law enforcement, health agencies, schools, community service agencies, and the general public.
- Supervise and train assigned staff and other agency personnel when directed.
- Maintain Law Enforcement Certification by fulfilling all ongoing, required training.
- Perform other duties as assigned or necessary for performance of the job.
- Investigation and interviewing techniques and procedures.
- Applicable Federal and State laws, rules, and regulations.
- Colorado Coroner's Statutes 30-10-Part 6, as well as Colorado Revised Statutes Titles 16, 18, and 24 pertaining to public records, collection of evidence, arrests, search and seizure, Criminal Codes, and search warrants.
- Basic anatomy and medical terminology.
- Sources used in obtaining applicable data.
- Obtain information and evidence by collection, observation, record examination and interviews.
- Analyze and evaluate information obtained from applicable sources.
- Secure and/ or record evidence in physical, oral and/ or written form.
- Interpret and comply with laws and regulations governing investigation.
- Perform all duties required of a P.O.S.T. certified law enforcement agent within the bounds of Medicolegal duties.
- Establish and maintain effective working relationships with other County employees, representatives of other agencies and organizations, and members of the community.
- Communicate clearly and concisely, both verbally and in writing.
- Work under high stress and exercise good judgment in crisis situations.
- One year of experience in a related field: applicable medical occupations, or law enforcement, or law enforcement investigative experience, or medicolegal investigation.
- High School Diploma or GED equivalent is required.
- Basic Medical Terminology and Anatomy course or equivalent is required.
- Associate's degree or equivalent from an accredited college or university with major coursework in health sciences, criminal justice, or other related field is preferred.
- Completion of a qualified Coroner Reserve program is preferred.
- Valid and current Colorado P.O.S.T. Law Enforcement Certification, required.
- Possession of or ability to obtain, a valid Colorado Driver's License, required.
- Possession of or ability to obtain within one year from date of employment, a Medicolegal Death Investigator's Certification acceptable to the Larimer County Coroner's Office, required.
- Have acceptable eyesight to perform above-listed duties.
- Have appropriate voice and communication skills to be clearly understood on telephone, radio, and in public contacts.
- Have acceptable hearing for use of telephone, radio and public contacts.
- Sit up to three continuous hours while driving and stand/walk up to three continuous hours for scenes and autopsy work.
- Get into and out of vehicle repeatedly.
- Stoop, bend, stretch, twist, reach, kneel, crawl, squat, climb, and balance.
- Lift, carry, drag, or push, and average body weight of 150 to 200 lbs., both alone and with help.
- Climb ladders or stairs or climb up to and down from higher levels using unconventional methods.
- Work in hazardous or dangerous work areas or situations.
- Have fine and gross motor skills; hand dexterity; use of fingers, hands, and arms; and good grip strength to perform investigative duties.
- Be capable of working in highly stressful situations.
- Have good cognitive skills and awareness of work accuracy.
- Have the ability to concentrate on more than one task at a time and to make independent decisions.
- Work outside in adverse weather conditions.
- Transverse uneven terrain.
- Load gurney into vehicle with decedent requiring 125 pounds of force.
- Lift up to 50 pounds during autopsy.
- Push gurney up to 75 feet requiring a force of 100 pounds.
- Access confined spaces, 24 inches by 24 inches, at death scene.
- Tolerate heights up to 100 feet to photograph death scenes from aerial bucket.
- Crawl and/or navigate crawl spaces and lofts.
- Maintain physical fitness requirements listed above and pass an annual physical fitness test.
- Maintain all P.O.S.T. and Larimer County Sheriff's Office requirements for continuing training, including firearms, physical agility, and driving.