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Tulsa autopsy decision postponed

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Associated Press

State Medical Examiner Dr. Jeffery Gofton has agreed to postpone plans to stop performing autopsies in Tulsa.

Gofton told lawmakers Tuesday morning autopsies will continue in Tulsa until at least June 30 and he will study the issue more. He also says he's postponing plans to eliminate three administrative jobs in the Tulsa office.

Gofton announced plans to move all autopsies to Oklahoma City in December and said it would make the medical examiner's office more efficient.

The proposal drew criticism from police and prosecutors in northeastern Oklahoma who say the move would be costly and could delay homicide investigations.

Jan. 9, 2008

Staff and Wire Reports

State Representative Lucky Lamons of Tulsa is joining the critics of a plan to stop performing autopsies at the medical examiner's office in Tulsa.

State chief medical examiner Dr. Jeffery Gofton has said all autopsies will be performed in Oklahoma City by March 31st in an effort to make the office more efficient.

Lamons is a former Tulsa police officer and says he agrees with those who say moving all autopsies to Oklahoma City will hurt law enforcement agencies in northeastern Oklahoma.

Law enforcement officials in Tulsa say the plan would force investigators to waste time and money driving to Oklahoma City.

"There could be some state savings in consolidation, but on the other side of the ledger, which they haven't looked at yet, is what is going to be the flip-side cost to these counties who are on shoestring budget already," Tulsa County District Attorney Tim Harris said.

A meeting to talk about streamlining the examiner's office will take place Jan. 8 in Tulsa.

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