President Toni Preckwinkle announced today that Cook County has been awarded a $175,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Justice that will help modernize the computer software system at the Medical Examiner’s Office.
“We made a commitment to institute reforms at the ME’s office, and this accomplishment is another milestone toward our goals,” President Preckwinkle said. “The grant will enable us to purchase a much needed electronic data management system. The upgrade will be the first in a series of technological improvements we’re making that will enhance efficiency and organization at the office. We’re grateful to the Justice Department for helping us begin the modernization process during a tight fiscal year.”
The technological upgrades, along with other improvements, will be implemented and overseen by the new top management team at the ME’s office: newly appointed Chief Medical Examiner Stephen Cina, set to begin September 10, and executive director Daryl Jackson, on board since late July.
“Securing electronic records software will bring the Medical Examiner’s Office in line with best practices across the country, and I expect it to improve efficiencies,” Dr. Cina said. “I am pleased that I will be starting work with expanded capabilities and the support of county government.”
Cook County was one of 170 applicants competing for the award from the Paul Coverdell Forensic Science Improvement Grants Program, which seeks to improve the quality and timeliness of forensic science and medical examiner services.
The new electronic records software system will enable the office to record, manage and retrieve vital data efficiently. Currently, the staff maintains records in paper logbooks and in an outdated computer data management system developed in the mid-1980s. With the state-of-the-art system, paper files and records will no longer be required and all case information will be stored in a central repository