In Kern County, the Sheriff is elected to serve as the Sheriff-Coroner-Public Administrator with each role having distinct authorities and functions.
The Coroner is mandated by law to investigate and determine the cause and manner of death for people who pass away in Kern County pursuant to California Government Code Section 27491 and Health and Safety Code Section 102850, including all violent, sudden or unusual deaths. The Coroner’s Section is committed to providing the highest quality investigative and forensic services, conducted with the utmost professionalism, integrity, and compassion.
The primary function of Deputy Coroner investigators and forensic pathologists is to determine the cause and manner of death by conducting thorough medicolegal death investigations through specialized examination of the deceased and the associated evidence. This responsibility is carried out with respect for the deceased and consideration for the families involved.
Medicolegal death investigations are conducted countywide on all homicides, suicides, accidents, suspicious and unexplained deaths. The Coroner’s statutory duty is to investigate for the purpose of determining the identity of the deceased, the medical cause of death, and the manner of death, surrounding all deaths which fall within the Coroner’s jurisdiction. Other Coroner duties include notifying the next of kin, safeguarding the decedent’s personal property, collecting evidence related to the cause and manner of death, and completion of mandatory records and documents.
Coroner personnel are active members of the child and elder death multi-disciplinary review committees comprised of numerous agencies within Kern County that routinely and systematically examine all circumstances surrounding the deaths of the given age group. The Coroner’s Section is also active in the communities we serve, including participation on the domestic violence multi-disciplinary review committees, identifying consumer products causing fatal injury, and providing vital information for legal and law enforcement personnel. We also maintain cooperative relationships with non-profit organ and tissue procurement agencies to facilitate decedent’s wishes and to help save lives.