The Kings County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday unanimously approved a short-term agreement to fill the role of forensic pathologist and will work on developing a long-term agreement.
The County previously contracted with Microcorre Diagnostic Laboratory, but that contract ended in June when the owner and practicing pathologist died. Kings County is required to have a forensic pathologist available to investigate certain deaths, like homicides or unattended deaths.
Sheriff and Coroner David Robinson presented a three-month, $50,750 contract with National Autopsy Assay Group Pathology Labs, a San Diego based company, which would allow the Coroner’s office to have a forensic pathologist available while developing a long-term contract.
“Forensic pathologists are very hard to find in the nation,” Robinson said. “We feel like we’re fortunate to have found them.”
Robinson said both Tulare and Fresno counties are considering contracting with the company, which would ultimately bring down the cost of the contract in a long-term agreement. The pathology company has nine forensic pathologists on staff.
The short-term agreement will have a forensic pathologist in Kings County to perform medical tests needed to determine cause of death in certain cases within the required timeline. Robinson said they would prepare to make those three days as efficient as possible.
The short-term contract ends Oct. 31, 2021.
The Board also approved a decrease in the voluntary capacity of the youth detention center from 56 to 30. Chief Probation Officer Kelly Vernon said the county is not able to manage 56 minors due to low staffing.
Kings County Commission on Aging will also receive a $80,000 contribution from the County general fund, which has been the case for a number of years.