Provides data on the personnel, budgets, and workload of medical examiner and coroner offices by type of office and size of jurisdiction. The census gathers information on the number of unidentified human decedents handled by these offices, record-keeping practices, and use of national databases for unidentified remains.
Data collection for the 2018 Census of Medical Examiner and Coroner Offices (CMEC) was conducted by RTI International (RTI) on behalf of BJS under cooperative agreement 2017-MU-CX-K052. The 2004 questionnaire was revised to ensure questions were up to date and relevant to the field. A subject matter expert panel composed of medical examiners, coroners, and medicolegal death investigators was convened to review the draft questionnaire and to provide feedback on specific items.
The initial universe of medical examiner/coroner offices was based on the 2004 CMEC and the 2017 National Forensic Laboratory Information Management System (NFLIS) Medical Examiner/Coroner Office Survey, funded by the Drug Enforcement Administration. The project team conducted web searches to identify offices that may not have been included in previous data collection efforts. Additionally, the project team conducted an outreach effort to offices that did not participate in the 2017 NFLIS survey to verify contact information.
A mixed-mode method of data collection was used for the CMEC. Offices were encouraged to respond via web survey and in follow-up efforts, non-responding offices were provided paper copies of the survey with a prepaid return envelope. A critical-item questionnaire was created in both paper and web form for respondents who did not complete the full questionnaire. Follow-up efforts also included phone calls and Computer Assisted Telephone Interviewing if an office was willing to participate over the phone.
A total of 2,037 unique and eligible offices were enumerated for the CMEC, of which 1,648 responded for an overall response rate of 80.9%.