Friday, May 4, 2012

Solano County grand jury: Coroner's Office files lack security

BY KIMBERLY K. FU/ KFU@THEREPORTER.COM Posted: 05/04/2012 01:05:03 AM PDT Security measures are lacking at the Solano County Coroner's Office, but it's nothing that a new system can't fix, according to a 2011-12 county grand jury report released Thursday.

A September visit to the Fairfield site apparently revealed no exterior alarm system and insufficient interior security.

According to the report, evidence, case reports and more may be compromised as a result.

Those case reports are kept in a locked office accessible only to two employees via a door key lock, grand jurors said, adding that the documents are stored in plastic storage containers.

"The report filing system was organized; however, the grand jury was concerned with the storage containers in use," the report states. "Fire or water could damage or destroy these extremely sensitive, irreplaceable and historical documents."

To remedy the situation, grand jurors recommend installing a "state-of-the-art alarm system so that the Sheriff's Office dispatch center is alerted of any intrusion." Also suggested is replacing the manual locks on the office door with a card key system, "which would add additional security and accountability for access into sensitive areas."

As for the storage woes, officials want the plastic containers dumped in favor of a fire-and-flood-resistant system.

In other matters, the report requested annual updates of the Coroner Procedural Manual, which was last updated in March 2004. The eight-year-old manual, grand jurors said, does not contain current operating procedures and job specifications.

The report's final recommendation was for the sheriff to "instruct staff on correct procedures for funding consultant services and include clear and precise instructions on funding additional professional consultant services in the Coroner's Procedural Manual."

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