Under general supervision, assists with investigations / autopsies coming under the jurisdiction of the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner; and performs related duties as required.
The Medical Examiner's Investigator I is the entry-level classification in this job series. Incumbents assist in the performance of death investigations and autopsies. Positions in this job class received on-the-job training in autopsy and investigative fields. Assignments to positions in this class are of average difficulty or complexity.
Examples of Important and Essential Duties
According to Civil Service Commission Rule 109, the duties specified below are representative of the range of duties assigned to this job code/class and are not intended to be an inclusive list.
1. Respond to death scenes coming under the jurisdiction of the Chief Medical Examiner; assist in the removal of the body from the scene.
2. Assist forensic pathologist with forensic examinations including evidence collection, labeling, photography, specimen collection and autopsy of the deceased persons.
3. Assist Investigator in gathering forensic evidence and medical information; assist with examination of the body of deceased person and recording any pertinent evidence; assist with the examination of the surrounding vicinity and records findings; assists with the maintenance of chain of custody.
4. Assist in the collection and preservation of clothing, physical and biologic evidence for forensic analysis, including but not limited to gunshot residue collection, fingernail clippings, sexual assault specimen collection, forensic toxicology, clinical chemistry, serology, and microbiologic testing; package and prepare evidence and specimens for storage or transport within a legal chain of custody; ensure proper biohazard waste disposal regulations according to protocol.
5. Assist in recording of valuables and property removed from the death scene or autopsies for safekeeping; assist in preparing detailed reports of investigation; assist in maintaining required records; assist in preparing clear and concise history of facts surrounding the death and/or medical history.
6. Assist in enforcing and interpreting investigative/ autopsy policies and procedures.
7. Assist in coordinating and conducting field investigations with other law enforcement agencies, the District Attorney, attorneys, interview witnesses, physicians, police officers, hospitals, family members and others to obtain facts concerning the death; assist in establishing the identification of deceased persons, and work with investigators from other agencies.
8. Assist in locating and notifying next of kin; represent the department in contacts with hospitals, funeral directors, law enforcement agencies, and others.
9. Assist in cleaning and maintaining autopsy suite, scale room, hallway parking lot and lobby areas; order and stock necessary supplies and equipment for proper function of the facility and vehicles in a manner that ensures a safe worksite, free of biohazards.
10. Assist other forensic consultants in forensic examinations, such as dental or anthropology examinations.
11. Assist in the identification of deceased persons, including those that are badly decomposed; take fingerprints from cadavers.
12. May testify in courtroom proceedings as necessary.
13. Keep vehicle mileage records and Limited Quantity Hauling Log.
14. Prepare daily indigent, amended and other electronic and printed death certificates; assist with filing of death records.
15. Register the storage position of all deceased persons and inventory those cases stored; confirm the identity and legal release of all deceased persons in accordance with departmental policies.
16. Perform other duties as required.
Knowledge, Skills and Abilities
Knowledge of: Autopsy; standard procedures for gathering, preserving and presenting data and physical evidence; interview methods and techniques; state and local laws governing the operations of the Medical Examiner, i.e., Government, Penal, Health and Safety Codes, Estate administration law, etc.; and methods and procedures utilized in working with potentially hazardous biological and/or chemical materials.
Ability to: Assist with investigations and examine remains of the deceased under unpleasant conditions with possible exposure to toxic chemicals and other biohazards; promote, establish and maintain cooperative working relationships with a variety of individuals and groups; gather, analyze, evaluate and preserve evidence; interact courteously, fairly and effectively with individuals and groups from a variety of cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds; and remain calm under emergency and emotional situations; write reports and correspondence in a clear, concise, well-organized and effective manner; speak clearly and concisely, and listen and elicit information to effectively interview witnesses and others related to cases; perform strenuous physical activities including lifting and moving dead bodies; credibly testify in court hearings; and operate a motor vehicle.
Experience and Training
These minimum qualifications are to be used as a guide for establishing the education, training, experience, special skills and/or license(s) which are required for employment in the classification. Please note, additional qualifications (i.e., special conditions) may apply to a particular position and will be stated on the exam/job announcement.
1. Possession of a BA/BS Degree in Biology, Criminal Justice, Psychology, Forensic Science or closely related field; OR
2. Possession of a current valid embalmer's license issued by the California State Board of Funeral Directors and Embalmers; OR
3. Diplomat Certification issued by the American Board of Medico-legal Death Investigators; OR
4. One year of verifiable experience in medical, nursing, medical examiner, coroner or investigative field. This experience must include working with deceased persons and/or their families.
Substitution: Additional qualifying experience can be substituted for education on a year-for-year basis.
- Must be willing and able to work under adverse and/or hazardous conditions, involving frequent exposure to sudden, unexpected and sometimes violent deaths, decomposed bodies, bodies with extensive physical injuries; biohazards, unpleasant odors or conditions.
- Must be willing and able to work 24 hours rotating shifts, including weekends and holidays.
- Must be able to type 25 wpm within six months of employment.
- Willing and able to lift dead bodies weighing 175 pounds using acceptable removal techniques.
- Willing and able to complete a pulmonary function test and be fitted for an N-95 respirator.
- Willing and able to wear Personal Protective Equipment and respirators.
- Ability to comply with departmental policies regarding blood borne pathogens, radiation safety, biohazards and chemical exposure prevention, and other departmental policies and procedures.
- Must be able to comply with case confidentiality requirements of the department.
Candidates must pass the following:
- Review of Judicial and Driving Records (Fingerprinting);
- Employment, Character and Background Investigation;
- Medical Examination including pulmonary function test; AND
- Physical ability to lift dead bodies weighing 175 pounds to remove them from the scene of death using acceptable removal techniques.
License or Certificate
Possession and maintenance of a valid California Driver's License within 30 days of hire.
Disaster Service Workers
All City and County of San Francisco employees are designated Disaster Service Workers through state and local law (California Government Code Section 3100-3109). Employment with the City requires the affirmation of a loyalty oath to this effect. Employees are required to complete all Disaster Service Worker-related training as assigned, and to return to work as ordered in the event of an emergency.