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View Full Version : L.A. County coroner's investigators want to carry weapons on the job


glockman19
03-06-2009, 5:48 AM
Here's an article from today's LA Times. Coroners want to be armed to get this, "defend themselves".

http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-coroner-guns6-2009mar06,0,4464611.story

From the Los Angeles Times
L.A. County coroner's investigators want to carry weapons on the job
So far, county officials have rejected arming on-duty coroner's investigators, citing liability concerns. 'We just want to be able to defend ourselves,' a veteran investigator says.
By Molly Hennessy-Fiske

March 6, 2009

Los Angeles County coroner's investigators, often among the first to arrive at crime scenes, are seeking permission to carry weapons while on the job.

"We're working in one of the most dangerous areas in the nation," said Mario Sainz, a veteran investigator who has been lobbying the county to change its policy. "We've had incidents where the gangbangers -- even though there are uniformed cops -- drive by the scene, randomly shooting, and the coroner's investigator has no means of protection."

So far, county officials have rejected arming on-duty coroner's investigators, citing numerous liability concerns.

Though California law grants coroner's investigators the right to carry weapons while off duty, it is up to the counties to set on-the-job policy.

Arming L.A.'s 40 coroner's investigators would bring the department in line with Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, Kern and Sacramento counties.

Sainz and some of his colleagues recently contacted the county's chief executive, William T Fujioka, to plead for reconsideration of a proposal submitted last fall.

"We just want to be able to defend ourselves," Sainz said.

To argue for the change in policy, he has collected police and sheriff's reports on incidents in which coroner's investigators were shot at while investigating crime scenes, including a South Los Angeles drive-by involving an AK-47 five years ago.

Concern was heightened, he said, when a man doing community service at the coroner's office in January was found carrying a 9-mm pistol in his waistband and arrested by Los Angeles police, according to records.

"They may not do the traditional role, but they are still peace officers and they are out there and it places them at risk," said Brian Moriguchi, head of the Professional Peace Officers Assn. union, which represents the investigators. "If they come across somebody who becomes confrontational with them, they don't have sufficient means to defend themselves."

Nationally, despite television portrayals of gun-toting crime scene investigators, most large jurisdictions -- including New York, Chicago, Miami, Las Vegas, Dallas, Seattle and Phoenix -- do not allow forensic investigators to carry weapons.

Anthony Hernandez, director of the L.A. coroner's office, said he initially supported the proposal but changed his mind after hearing the county's liability concerns.

"Every time they go out into the field, as peace officers they may find themselves in a precarious situation," he said, adding: "I don't know that weapons are the ultimate answer to safety."

Robert J. Foucrault, San Mateo County coroner and first vice president of the California State Coroners Assn., said that although he hasn't allowed his investigators to be armed on duty, he understands the concerns of his colleagues in Los Angeles.

A former investigator, Foucrault was once attacked while notifying a family of a death. He sees investigators increasingly at risk of being robbed or attacked as they transport cash, jewelry and other evidence.

"There are a lot of things we do today that we didn't have to do in years past," Foucrault said. "We do death notification, we have to search and secure residences. We just don't go pick up a body, put it in a van and go."

molly.hennessy-fiske

@latimes.com

B.D.Dubloon
03-06-2009, 5:49 AM
Let them. What if they are working late and some necrophiliac breaks in. They'll have to shoot them to protect the bodies.

JDoe
03-06-2009, 6:18 AM
I don't think they should be allowed to carry guns on the job. What if they get mad at someone in the office and go crazy shooting people?

Bill_in_SD
03-06-2009, 6:27 AM
What if the gun goes off on its own when they are out on the street?! The Horror!

BHP FAN
03-06-2009, 6:55 AM
Good Lord!These people aren't armed?! Every Coroner's officer in our county is armed.And the bosses are worried about liability?!What about the liability if one of the coroners officers gets shot,or God forbid killed because they were unarmed?!

RobG
03-06-2009, 7:08 AM
Hell yes they need guns. What if the "dead" guy was bitten by a zombie? That critter could pop up at any moment:43:

zinfull
03-06-2009, 7:38 AM
These people are worried about liability? Where do you think the dead bodies go, these are the best people to CYA. What dead bodies?


Jerry

gtmmark
03-06-2009, 7:47 AM
Zombies are not a laughing matter these guys are on the sharp end.

Fire in the Hole
03-06-2009, 8:29 AM
But think of the children!

Seriously, I have a good friend who use to be a supervisor with the LA Coroners Office. Remember the old expression, "Kill the messenger?"

These investigatiors have to go into the ghettos and barios, make their way past a couple of Rottweilers or Pit Bulls, and knock on the doors at 0300 hrs., to wake people up, enter their homes, and inform them that their son, father, mom, or daughter had just died. Since they are the first point of contact for this horrible information, the next-of-kin quite oftenly take their shock and remorse out on the investigator. People know these officers are county employees, and of course they want to know the cause or manner of death. When the investigator has to inform them that their family member died from LE gunfire, there is Hell to pay. Many of these investigators have to deliver the news, leave a business card where the family can obtain further information, and then run back to their cars for a hasty retreat.

hawk1
03-06-2009, 9:04 AM
First off the bat this quote is BS!
Los Angeles County coroner's investigators, often among the first to arrive at crime scenes,...


Yeah Right! Maybe once in a million chance the coroner gets on scene before law enforcement.
Maybe if he stumbles across a dead guy while walking his dog...

Travis8128
03-06-2009, 9:16 AM
just because the fact they are working with "could be" zombies they should all have tacticooled 12 gauge zombie harvesters.

CavTrooper
03-06-2009, 10:33 AM
In all seriousness, I heard this story on the news this morning and it had me wondering about some things.

I didnt realize that the coroners were not sworn LEOs, at least thats what the news story said.

With that, what does it take for a non-leo to be able to open carry a loaded weapon?

Is there a special status these people (who are no LEOs) have that allow them to open carry a loaded weapon?

nick
03-06-2009, 10:43 AM
Anthony Hernandez, director of the L.A. coroner's office, said he initially supported the proposal but changed his mind after hearing the county's liability concerns.

"Every time they go out into the field, as peace officers they may find themselves in a precarious situation," he said, adding: "I don't know that weapons are the ultimate answer to safety."

Robert J. Foucrault, San Mateo County coroner and first vice president of the California State Coroners Assn., said that although he hasn't allowed his investigators to be armed on duty, he understands the concerns of his colleagues in Los Angeles.

A former investigator, Foucrault was once attacked while notifying a family of a death. He sees investigators increasingly at risk of being robbed or attacked as they transport cash, jewelry and other evidence.


I think, this part is especially telling.

Frijolito1988
03-06-2009, 10:52 AM
They should be armed, I dont know why its not standard presidure to shoot the victim after everytign is said and done..Example.. some body sadly dies, autopsy, funeral, burial. Right before he gets burried and everybody has said theyr good byes. A Silver , holly water dowsed bullet to the head, as a preventive zombie precaution. I mean heck they did it in the 14/15 century in some easter european countries to prevent "Vampires" from waking from the dead....although they used to decapitate them right before they where burried....no lie.

blackberg
03-06-2009, 1:19 PM
hmm, I was at gunrunners a while back, and someone from the Coroner's office came in looking for another holster for 1911, which he was OCing along with 2 mags, I remember how the employee was surprised about the 1911 and the guy told them that the 1911 was approved now, but he had something else in case the dept told him otherwise.

I remember it pretty well since the 1911 was stainless steel and I asked myself why the cororner's office needed to be packing, but then remembered about zombies....
-bb

tyrist
03-06-2009, 1:31 PM
If the Coroner is picking up the dead body....it's not usually in a very good place or under "natural" circumstances. These areas are going to be ones where violent crimes are most common.

Full Clip
03-06-2009, 1:37 PM
What, are they jealous of their TV counterparts on CSI?

http://image.wetpaint.com/image/1/W6inuw5TkhuhbNn9wNMQ1g139295/GW400H453

dfletcher
03-06-2009, 2:37 PM
I don't think they are the first - or even the "near first" to respond. I've been around a few shootings, from what I've seen the coroner arrives after PD has secured the scene and the cops are usually in their winding down mode, a fairly decent presence on scene.

The article cited going into bad neighborhoods as justification. That doesn't quite move me. Some very good and hard working people live in those neighborhoods. The coroner should get a CCW when those residents are allowed to get a CCW - we all know that so far as CA is concerned, just being in a bad neighborhood or potentially dangerous situation isn't enough, right?

GuyW
03-06-2009, 2:41 PM
Anthony Hernandez, director of the L.A. coroner's office, said he initially supported the proposal but changed his mind after hearing the county's liability concerns.

"Every time they go out into the field, as peace officers they may find themselves in a precarious situation," he said, adding: "I don't know that weapons are the ultimate answer to safety."


What a tool. They aren't asking for "the ultimate answer to safety" - they want loaded guns. I guess he wants to disarm cops, too...
.

GuyW
03-06-2009, 2:43 PM
Good Lord!These people aren't armed?! Every Coroner's officer in our county is armed.And the bosses are worried about liability?!What about the liability if one of the coroners officers gets shot,or God forbid killed because they were unarmed?!


Liability?

Their union should make a special assessment NOW to fund the Mother-of-all-lawsuits against the County, in the event an employee gets injured or murdered while on the job.

...publicize it...
.

CavTrooper
03-06-2009, 2:43 PM
I guess he wants to disarm cops, too...
.

Considering the rate of accidental shootings, suicides, domestic violence, etc. among LEOs, its defenitly something that needs to be considered.
;)

fred40
03-06-2009, 6:39 PM
they should give guns to school district employees they is more chances of a shooting in a school than from a dead body.

Saigon1965
03-06-2009, 6:43 PM
Thank you for highlighting that -

I would armed fireman before these guys -

First off the bat this quote is BS!



Yeah Right! Maybe once in a million chance the coroner gets on scene before law enforcement.
Maybe if he stumbles across a dead guy while walking his dog...

SimpleCountryActuary
03-06-2009, 7:39 PM
:21:

If they are the first to arrive at the scene and the victim isn't dead yet, they can use the gun to make sure that taxpayers dollar spent to send the coroners in extra speedy cars isn't wasted.

ricknadine1111
03-06-2009, 7:50 PM
As far as I see it anybody in a uniform is the first target,and if you don't think so just check the past here in california and see how many officers have been shot and killed while in uniform. That in it's self should allow anyone that is a peace officer on duty to protect themselves, no matter what job they have.I remember a Highway Patrol man back in the 1970's who was shot by a couple of crimers just because he wore the uniform so don't tell me that just because they wear a uniform and are doing a passive job thay don't need to be armed thay still wear a star (badge), and they don't need to be on the job to be shot at, they could be in transport to the job in uniform from their home.