The Washington Association of Coroners and Medical Examiners (WACME) is a professional organization of county coroners/medical examiners and their deputies in Washington State.

Lead and Advocate for best practices and excellence in death investigations.

Facilitate the exchange of information pertaining to the duties, methods and official practices of members.

Provide for the essential and continued education in all matters relating to coroners / medical examiners.  

Create education opportunities for our members and the public, focusing on the safety and welfare of Washington State residents and visitors.

Promote communication with the law enforcement and the medical communities and with other individuals and agencies involved in death investigations.

  1. All Counties in Washington State should have a separately elected / appointed Coroner / Medical Examiner.
    Regardless of county population, an independent Coroner / Medical Examiner is critical to objective death investigations. Fourteen counties in Washington State combine the elected role of Prosecuting Attorney and Coroner, a practice that has drawn scrutiny in numerous studies and is rejected in national standards.  The mix of responsibilities between the two roles does not allow the Prosecutor/Coroner to acquire the experience and training necessary to most effectively serve in the role of Coroner / Medical Examiner. Policy options for achieving objectives:
    • Establish date in RCW after which the prosecuting attorney serving as coroner shall continue to serve as ex-officio coroner until a coroner is elected, at the next general election at which the office of prosecuting attorney normally would be elected, regardless of county population.
    • Allow counties with demonstrably lower caseloads / smaller populations to elect a part-time coroner
  2. All Washington State County Coroner / Medical Examiner offices should be nationally accredited and lead by an agency head that has achieved American Board of Medicolegal Death Investigators (ABMI) certification.
    State policy and county regulation should reflect onboarding and training policies for newly-elected Coroners / Medical Examiners that supports and ensures a continuum of professional education leading to Board certification in a reasonable time period and at reasonable cost.
    Policy options for achieving objectives:
    • Similar to the Basic Law Enforcement Academy (BLEA) develop onboarding and training for newly-elected Coroners / Medical Examiners that do not meet the basic certification and training
    • Establish a timeline for expected enrollment and completion
    • Require completion of program prior to filing for re-election
  3. All Washington State County Coroners / Medical Examiner offices need adequate resources and capacity to ensure accuracy and timeliness in conduct of death investigation services.
    Delays in any aspect of death investigation or unreasonable caseloads can affect accuracy, hinder investigations, deter criminal justice and impact public health safeguards. Policy options for achieving objectives:
    • Require and report 90% of toxicology examinations complete within 90 days of case submission
    • Investigate cost and service efficiencies of a regional model of toxicology laboratory services
    • Study and report on Coroner / Medical Examiner office caseloads statewide and degree to which they deviate from national standards

More information regarding WACME and WACO Priority Legislation can be found on our legislative advocacy page: http://countyofficials.org/232/Legislative-Advocacy