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May 28, 2023
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Weekly Update - Support Bureau
JCSO Public Relations Officer
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Weekly Update - Support Bureau

In this week’s update, I'd like to tell you about an indispensable part of the JCSO Criminal Investigations Division. The Medical Examiner Investigations Unit has two full time Detectives who work directly with the Deputy State Medical Examiner (forensic pathologist) by appointment of the District Attorney and State Medical Examiner.  A detective with the Central Point Police Department also assists the unit as an ME Investigator.  

Our ME Investigators receive extensive training in conducting medicolegal death investigations at the University of St. Louis School of Medicine and at the Oregon State Medical Examiner’s Office.  They respond to calls 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to all jurisdictions within Jackson County.  The information they collect is vital in assisting the Deputy State Medical Examiner to determine the cause and manner of death.

The majority of deaths in Oregon do not meet the criteria to fall within the jurisdiction of the Medical Examiner's Office.  In 2015, 697 deaths were referred to JCSO ME Investigators.  246 of those cases were accepted into the jurisdiction of the Medical Examiner with the manner of death determined to be: Accident (104), Natural Causes (74 deaths), Suicide (57 deaths), Homicide (6 deaths), or Undetermined (5 deaths).

Medical Examiner Investigators do much more than helping to determine the cause and manner of death.  They make sure families have adequate support by offering to contact other family members, friends, or a chaplain.  They communicate with doctors to complete required documents, and stay in contact with funeral home representatives. For example, if a death requires an autopsy by the Deputy State Medical Examiner, the Medical Examiner Investigator will facilitate transportation scheduling directly with the selected funeral home so families don’t have to worry about the logistical details.  Their compassionate work helps to make the grieving process smoother and less stressful for families.

Thank you for your support.

Captain Tim Snaith

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