WilCo Commissioners order medical examiner process study

Williamson County commissioners continued their research Dec. 10 into the viability of establishing a medical examiner's office by assigning a study of the stakeholders in medical examiner usage in the county.

Commissioners Court tasked Edward Sherwood, college of medicine vice dean at Texas A&M Health Science Center in Round Rock, to look into who is involved when an autopsy is called.

"A major mission of ours is service to the people of Texas," Sherwood said. "I will assist the county in a process-improvement project to map the process of what happens from when someone expires to when the case is closed."

Justices of the peace, sheriff's deputies and constables may all be included in the list of county officials when Sherwood's study is complete.

"At least two different [justices of the peace] have talked about the burden it is on them to hold court because of time they're spending [on autopsies]," County Judge Dan Gattis said. "We need a more consistent look at how that's done."

Sherwood said although there is room to improve forensic medical services in Williamson County, a study to see how much a medical examiner's office could be used may reveal ways to improve the current process.

Sherwood said the data collection would take about 90 days and will be presented at a later date.