On January 8, 2005 the Coroner's Department merged with the Sheriff's Department. The Sheriff's new title is "Sheriff-Coroner." With this merger, a captain was appointed commander of the Coroner Division and 33 new employees joined the Department. The Coroner Division has offices in San Bernardino, Apple Valley and Needles.
A few decades ago, before the current facility was built in 1988, autopsies were performed in the local area mortuaries and later, at the San Bernardino County Medical Center. The pathologist would take his bag of instruments and perform the autopsy in the mortuary. However, autopsies are not the only thing happening at the Coroner's Division, and not everyone who dies has an autopsy performed on him or her.
The Coroner's Division has Deputy Coroner Investigators who are tasked with investigating the cause and manner of death for those who die in San Bernardino County . Not every person who dies requires investigation. If individuals have been under medical care, and/or there is a "natural" death determination, they do not come to the Coroner's facility, but go directly to the mortuary the family has chosen.
A Deputy Coroner Investigator will be called to the scene of homicides, fatal traffic collisions and any other place where an unexplained death has transpired -- even in the middle of the desert to retrieve bones of the deceased. The investigator will take pictures and examine the body. These investigators make family notification and document the facts of the death.
In addition to three Board Certified Forensic Pathologists, our staff includes: an Anthropologist, an Odontologist, Deputy Coroner Investigators, Autopsy Assistants, Sheriff's Service Specialists, clerical staff, and an Indigent Burial Specialist. The Sheriff's Coroner Volunteer Unit is also an invaluable addition to the Division.
The deceased and their family members are treated with the utmost care and consideration. The job of the Coroner Division is to take care of the citizens of San Bernardino County at a time when they are at their most vulnerable.