Fallin Announces Plan For Medical Examiner's Office's Relocation

Thursday, October 8th 2015, 10:57 pm
By: News 9

Gov. Fallin announced plans to relocate the state medical examiner's office during a Thursday afternoon press conference.

However, a few things have to be done before that move can happen.

The move, they say, will not only save the state millions of dollars, but will also help the medical examiner's office get back national accreditation.

The state medical examiner's office has been plagued with many problems for a long time. 

One of the most recent was when the refrigeration system that preserves bodies malfunctioned, forcing bodies to be temporarily stored in freezer trucks. 

Now, a long term solution is to move the agency to the Oklahoma City-County Health Department.

"We believe it's a win-win for the state of Oklahoma. It's a great building. It's going to save the state some money, and all the money that will come in as revenue from leases in that facility will go back to public education and higher education,” Fallin said.

Lawmakers say they would have liked for the Forensic Science Institute, the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation's Forensic Science Center and the medical examiner's office to all be located in Edmond and within walking distance of each other, but they also said that wouldn't have made financial sense.

"It would have been great to have that synergy,” state Sen. Clark Jolley said. “We budgeted a rough amount of $40 million to the medical examiner for the purpose of bonding at the University of Central Oklahoma."

The purchase price for the new location is just more than $3 million. Renovation costs are another $10 million and equipment is an additional $10 million which puts the total price tag at about $23 million.

“Compared to $40 million, the fiscally conservative thing to do, the fiscally responsible thing to do and the thing that allows us to get public safety taken care of the most rapidly is for us to go ahead and locate the medical examiner's office if possible at the Oklahoma City-County Health Department,” Jolley said.

Senate Bill 866 was filed Thursday and will allow the relocation. It will be heard in the next legislative session.