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ArrowCORONER - FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS


How do I get a copy of the Coroner Report and or Autopsy report?
Reports of the Coronerís office are covered under the Laws of Washington State in RCW 58.50.105 which states who may obtain reports.

RCW 68.50.105 - Autopsies, post mortems - Reports and records confidential - Exceptions.
Reports and records of autopsies or post mortems shall be confidential, except that the following persons may examine and obtain copies of any such report or record: The personal representative of the decedent as defined in RCW 11.02.005, any family member, the attending physician or advanced registered nurse practitioner, the prosecuting attorney or law enforcement agencies having jurisdiction, public health officials, or to the department of labor and industries in cases in which it has an interest under RCW 68.50.103.

The coroner, the medical examiner, or the attending physician shall, upon request, meet with the family of the decedent to discuss the findings of the autopsy or post mortem. For the purposes of this section, the term "family" means the surviving spouse, state registered domestic partner, or any child, parent, grandparent, grandchild, brother, or sister of the decedent, or any person who was guardian of the decedent at the time of death.

How Do I Become a Death Investigator?
You can run for election to be a Coroner, go to college to train for any of the following: Homicide Detective, Forensic Pathologist, Medical Examiner, Forensic Anthropologist, Evidence Technician, Forensic Photographer, Medicolegal Death Investigator and so on. You can apply at your local Police Department or Sheriff's office. Most Universities and Colleges offer classes that would be beneficial to a Death Investigator, classes in: Criminal Justice, Forensics, Photography, Biology, Anatomy, Physiology, Pharmacology, Computer Science, Fire Science, Human Services, Paramedics, Nursing, Business Management, Emergency Medical Technician, and Phlebotomy just to name a few. In this field, the more well rounded and highly educated the better.

Where Can I Find Information On Becoming A Death Investigator?
The internet, just search for "Death Investigator". Go to your local Colleges, Universities, Sheriff's Office, Police Department, Coroner's Office, Medical Examiners Offices, Forensic Pathologist Office, Library. Check out your local statutes and ordinances regarding Death Investigations.

Who Offers Criminal Justice and Death Investigation Classes?
Most Universities and Colleges offer classes that would be beneficial to a Death Investigator, classes in: Criminal Justice, Forensics, Photography, Biology, Anatomy, Physiology, Pharmacology, Computer Science, Fire Science, Human Services, Paramedics, Nursing, Business Management, Emergency Medical Technician, and Phlebotomy just to name a few. The Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission, The Public agency Training Council, Washington Association of Coroners and Medical Examiners, and the International Association of Coroners and Medical Examiners just to name a few. In this field the better rounded and highly educated the better.

What Type of Degree Do I Need?
Most employers require a 2 year or 4 year degree in some type of Medical Field or Criminal Justice field. On going training and continuing education are very important to a Death Investigator.

Why Do We Need Death Investigators?
To solve unsolved homicides, help prevent accidental deaths, and to give families the opportunity to have the answers they need and the closure they seek. Death Investigation is the process of discovering, collecting, preparing, identifying and preserving evidence to determine what happened, when it happened, and why it happened. A trained, experienced, full time Death Investigator is the backbone of any investigation involving death. If the Death Investigator is too overworked, too understaffed or too politically inclined, the whole investigation process suffers.

Why Would Someone Want To Be a Death Investigator?
To help give families the opportunity to have the answers they need and the closure they seek. To aid in the prevention of future homicides, traffic accidents, and accidental deaths.

What Characteristics Should a Death Investigator Posses?
Intellectual Characteristics: Effective Death Investigators obtain and retain information, apply technical knowledge, and remain open minded, objective and logical. Characteristics of an Effective Death Investigator: A good Death investigator is opened minded, imaginative, creative, patient, has good communication skills, compassionate, goal oriented, objective, persistent, motivated, and highly educated. Psychological Characteristics: Effective Death Investigators are emotionally well balanced, detached, inquisitive, suspecting, discerning, self-disciplined and persevering. Physical Characteristics: Effective Death Investigators are physically fit and have good vision and hearing.