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New Santa Barbara County Grand Jury Report Calls Coroner's Facilities Inadequate

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A new Santa Barbara County Grand Jury report says the county still hasn’t properly dealt with an inadequate and unsafe Coroner’s Bureau facility.

The Bureau conducts more than 700 death investigations a year. It operates out of a facility built more than 30 years ago.

The Grand Jury says while it might have met national standards in the 1980s, it doesn’t now. Multiple past Grand Jury reports have called for a new facility.

The report asserts the building has a questionable ventilation system. It also claims that residue from autopsies is washed down drains into the sewer system, instead of being treated as hazardous waste. And, it says a stainless steel dissecting table with proper drainage is needed to replace the gurneys used now.

The report also calls for the Coroner’s position be separated from the Sheriff’s post when the current Sheriff-Coroner’s term expires.

The county has taken some steps in the past to address specific issues, but a total replacement of the facility was deemed to be too expensive.

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