Sen. Clark Jolley on Thursday said an agreement has been reached to relocate the State Medical Examiner’s Office to the Oklahoma County Health Department building. Jolley said the agreement would result in significant savings and help the Medical Examiner’s Office to restore its accreditation.
“This move will result in a savings of millions of dollars, and we would be able to have those monies go straight back into education,” said Jolley, R-Edmond. “I’m very grateful to the Commissioners of the Land Office (CLO) for being innovative in helping us find a solution that will save state dollars and help restore our accreditation.”
Gov. Mary Fallin said the announcement was an important step toward regaining accreditation for the office.
“This action today gives the state a very good option to move the state medical examiner’s office into a new facility and out of its old, cramped and dilapidated building,” said Fallin, who serves as CLO chairman. “It lacks sufficient space for staff and agency operations, and it can’t be expanded. Today’s approval is a vital step in winning back accreditation for the medical examiner’s office, which conducts the important work of determining the cause of death for victims of violent or suspicious deaths.”
“This is a win-win for the state. With the CLO owning the building, the lease payments it collects will go directly with other funds it collects and distributes to public schools and higher education,” Fallin said.
Under current state law, the Medical Examiner’s Office is required to be on the campus of the University of Central Oklahoma (UCO). Jolley has introduced Senate Bill 866 to eliminate this requirement.
“The University of Central Oklahoma, the Regional University System of Oklahoma, and the State Regents all deserve thanks for their efforts to find a way to make it work at UCO,” Jolley said. “UCO President Don Betz and former President Roger Webb have been great partners in this effort. While all of us would have preferred to see the synergy between the Medical Examiner, the UCO Forensic Science Institute and the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation's Crime Lab, the fiscally conservative approach here is to save the money and expedite the renovation to get the accreditation back. I’m pleased to support this fiscally responsible move to support public safety.”