This is technical forensic and supervisory work directing the activities of lower level technicians in the pick-up, transport, processing and autopsy of bodies for post mortem examination in the Medical Examiner's Office.  The employee in this class participates in the work and is responsible for developing procedures to be followed by lower level technicians, preparing work schedules, ensuring adequate coverage at all times, procuring necessary equipment and supplies and training lower level technicians in autopsy techniques and procedures. Contact with vendors, the Police Department and hospital officials is a significant aspect of the work.  Work involves significant physical effort and disagreeable aspects in that the employee is exposed to unpleasant odors, chemical hazards, infections and contagious diseases, risk of blood borne pathogens and decomposed cadavers.  Work is performed under the general supervision of an administrative superior.


ALLOCATING FACTORS:  (The following conditions must be met for a position to be allocated to this class.)


1.    Only one position will be allocated to this class, located in the City's Medical Examiner's Office.

2.    The position must supervise a staff of subordinate forensic technicians.

3.    The position must be responsible for ensuring working efficiency, directing and participating in the pick-up, transport, autopsy and release of bodies.




            Supervises and participates in the  pickup and transportation of decomposed and mangled bodies; retrieves cadavers from local hospitals; receives bodies brought into the Medical Examiner's Office; coordinates with local hospitals, funeral homes, nursing homes, biohazard agencies and the Police department for the pickup and retrieval of bodies and specimens; directs and conducts searches at scenes when picking up bodies in order to locate information for the identification of the decedent and next of kin; fingerprints bodies for purposes of identification; oversees and prepares bodies for autopsy; dissects bodies removing and weighing organs, removes skull-cap (calvarium) to expose the brain for gross examination, removes spinal cords and checks for abnormalities which include adhesions, tumors or missing organs and reports such to a pathologist; restores skull and sews up body; skeletonizes bones through such procedures such as the removal of tissue and maceration by boiling.

 Directs the collection and preservation of forensic evidence (tissue, slides, radiographs, on-scene evidence, blood, urine) for use in determining cause and manner of death, and maintains records of examinations and evidence collected (chain-of-custody); coordinates the pickup and retrieval of histology specimens with hospitals;  oversees the collection and storage of physical evidence; oversees the release and receipt of specimens; ensures evidence storage areas are properly organized and maintained to prevent loss, damage or contamination; trains subordinate technicians on procedures for evidence storage and release; releases bodies to undertakers; participates in the arrangements for and burial or cremation of unclaimed bodies.

            Establishes procedures to govern the activities of a staff of technicians engaged in the dissection of cadavers during post mortem examination by a pathologist; modifies procedures as needed; participates in the budget process by representing staffing and equipment needs; monitors and reviews daily operations of the autopsy area; consults with pathologists regarding performance of technicians.

            Oversees the collection, documentation and storage of personal effects brought to the Medical Examiner’s Office; establishes and ensures the implementation of procedures to mitigate loss of personal effects.

            Prepares work and vacation schedules for a group of lower level technicians; ensures that continuous coverage is available during all shifts; handles disciplinary cases as needed; ensures the adequate training of subordinates and the continuous updating of new techniques in the field; ensures policies are being followed by subordinate staff; provides instruction to staff and implements new policies and procedures as necessary; trains lower level staff in autopsy techniques and procedures.           

            Selects equipment and supplies to be utilized in the autopsy area through research and evaluation of items based on the area's needs; conducts cost comparison studies in the selection of supplies; prepares specifications and requisitions; makes recommendations on vendor selection; submits bid invitations to vendors for price quotations on equipment and services at or below $2,000 in value; recommends awarding of requirements contracts to the lowest responsible bidder; ensures that a sufficient amount of supplies are on hand at all times.

            Oversees the maintenance and documentation of specimens and specimen bottles; oversees and participates in the cleaning and sterilization of instruments; ensures the maintenance and care of the work area and equipment; supervises the disposal of specimens and waste matter; researches supplies needed as protection from infectious disease cases; develops sanitary practices and ensures that such practices are adhered to; functions as part of the Safety committee to track, monitor and mitigate injuries on duty including blood borne pathogen exposure or airborne pathogens.

            Takes photographs of cadavers, organs and trace evidence; performs fluoroscopic examinations to aid in the location of bullets or other foreign objects; takes x-rays to demonstrate skeletal trauma; presents photographs as evidence in court and provides court testimony;

            Maintains a census of bodies currently stored at the Medical Examiner’s Office; releases unclaimed bodies for city cremation.  

            Utilizes computer program applications to enter data, maintain records and reports, store and organize digital photographs, and related functions.

            Performs related work as required.






•           gross human anatomy and of the characteristic appearance of normal and abnormal human organs

•           the methods, practices and procedures used in the dissection of bodies

               the methods, practices and procedures for properly storing, collecting, and releasing physical evidence and specimens for toxicology, DNA, bacterial and viral cultures and other laboratory tests

               the use and operation of photographic and x-ray equipment

•           the clerical and related procedures involved in receiving and releasing bodies

•           surgical instruments and related equipment needed to dissect cadavers and remove organs

•           administrative principles, practices, and techniques for an autopsy area

               County and State laws and regulations governing coroners and medical examiners

               Civil Service Regulations




•           the use and care of surgical and related equipment used to dissect cadavers and remove organs




•           plan, organize and coordinate the autopsy activities in support of pathologists engaged in post mortem examinations

•           plan, assign, and supervise the work of subordinate staff engaged in processing bodies and related tasks

•           work with human remains and with the diagnostic tools and surgical instruments necessary to assist with medicolegal death investigation.

               communicate effectively with subordinates and supervisors both verbally and in writing

•           establish and maintain effective working relationships with associates, subordinates and superiors

•           maintain records and prepare reports

•           work with decomposed and contaminated bodies

•           lift and move bodies

•           understand and follow oral and written instructions

•           operate and utilize electronic databases and electronic equipment, computers or other specialty equipment


MINIMUM ACCEPTABLE TRAINING AND EXPERIENCE (The following statement represents the minimum training and experience standards which will be used to admit or reject applicants for tests.  Applications submitted by candidates for this class will be reviewed based on training and experience requirements as approved on 3/18.)




            Equivalent to completion of the twelfth school grade.





            One year of experience dissecting human bodies under the supervision of a professional.





            Three years of experience, at the full performance level, processing and dissecting bodies for post mortem examinations in a forensic pathology laboratory or Medical Examiner's Office.




            Any equivalent combination of education and experience determined to be acceptable by the Office of Human Resources that has included the specific experience described above.


NOTE: Completion of thirty (30) credits which has included coursework in anatomy, biology, forensic science, mortuary science, or pathology may be substituted for the general experience requirement.




            Ability to physically perform the duties and to work in the environmental conditions required of a position in this class.




            Possession of a valid proper class motor vehicle operator's license as issued by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania within six months of appointment and during tenure of employment as a Forensic Technician Supervisor.


Class Established: 4/85

Spec. Revision: 6/91

CSC – 2/13; Ad. Board - 3/13

Spec. Revision:

CSC - 12/13

Ad. Board - 12/13

Latest Spec. Revision:

CSC - 2/18

Ad. Board - 3/18