Riverside Coroner’s Bureau moving forward with technology
In 2014, the Sheriff’s Department began a year-long test of tablets for field use. In 2015, it selected one in particular was selected for a variety of reasons to include, a large screen, superior battery life, and an approximate 50 percent cost savings over the mobile data computers the department was using in the field. Today, the department has about 675 of these tablets in use, which has allowed patrol operations to reduce costs and be more efficient.
The tablet allows deputy coroners to take their office into the field with them as they conduct death investigations throughout Riverside County. The tablets allow deputy coroners to access various Internet search tools that aid in the identification of decedents, while still at the scene of a death. They are also able to perform thorough searches for the decedent’s next-of-kin without having to return to the office which previously was necessary.
The ability to take their computer out into the field has enormous functionality features and improves the efficiency of the deputy coroners. Deputies can access their email, send photographs to the forensic pathologist that can be taken from the tablet itself, locate next-of-kin information, access the Coroner Case Database and input case information as well as write reports while waiting for Coroner transport personnel.
Additionally, the Coroner’s Bureau now can utilize mobile identification fingerprint technology that was previously unavailable. Fingerprints can be scanned while in the field and identification can be sent directly to the tablet’s computer. This helps make quick scientific identification of decedents while still in the field. Identification is quick and deputy coroners can proceed in locating the next-of-kin in a timely manner. In criminal investigations, such as homicides, rapid identification of the decedent can be a critical piece to the criminal investigation.
The advancement in functional computer technology will provide the Coroner’s Bureau with much needed capabilities to remain mobile across the county and improve effectiveness as death investigations continue to increase consistently every year.