PERRIS — Budget cuts are hitting hard at the Riverside County Sheriff’s Coroner’s Bureau. It stopped weekend autopsies July 1st. Employees expect only minor delays, and no effect on criminal investigations.
“When we come to Monday morning, we usually have a heavier caseload. Now, that we’re not doing autopsies on the weekends — if it’s a busy weekend — it can set us back a day into that week,” says Lt. Scot Collins with the Riverside County Sheriff’s Coroner’s Office.
The Coroner’s Bureau usually completes autopsies within 24 hours. Eliminating weekend autopsies will add a day or two. That could delay funeral services. But they say they will work to accommodate special religious requests.
“The limited resources we have as far as our coroners technicians and our pathologists we can concentrate them all on Monday through Friday instead of spreading them out through aseven day work week,” says Collins.
Riverside County is not the first. San Bernardino County already stopped weekend autopsies. It could have been worse. Riverside County Sheriff Stanley Sniff considered closing the Coroner’s Bureau office in Indio. But, it will stay open, for now.
“The Coroner’s Bureau as it operates now is operating very lean and further cuts would impact our operation,” says Collins.