AL Forensics Funnels Costs to Counties

OPELIKA, AL (WXTX) - Autopsies are often crucial in providing information on how a person dies, but that vital information can be costly. Transportation for autopsies cost the Alabama Department of Forensic Science hundreds of dollars.

The department is now deferring transportation costs to the county governments. "It looks like now with the economy with the way it is -its possibly going to be a reality," Bill Harris, Lee County Coroner said. With many counties placing budgets of their own on the chopping block, it's a policy Harris says is becoming very unpopular. "I've researched it, there's nothing in the law within the state that requires them to transport bodies," Bill Harris, Lee County Coroner said.

Roger Rendleman manages the budget in Lee County as the County Administrator. "Just like the state, the counties will themselves be seeing various difficulties due to the economic circumstances that we're facing," Roger Rendleman, County Administrator said. He adds that the money will most likely have to come from the expense budget previously allocated to the County Coroner's Office.

"The coroner basically has the responsibility for covering all his expenses. Now that funding for those expenses comes from an expense allowance that the county gives the coroner," Rendleman said. However Harris says the expense budget wouldn't cover transportation fees, and the county commission will have to provide another solution. "At some point in time I do plan to bring it up, once I get everything worked out," Harris said.

The department of forensic science will take their vans off the road on January 19th. That's when county governments will have to fund transportation for autopsies.