Charleston Co. Coroner’s Office awarded money for new cameras

The Charleston County Coroner’s office is one of several coroner’s offices in the state to receive national funding.
Published: Mar. 22, 2023 at 3:26 PM EDT|Updated: Mar. 22, 2023 at 7:22 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - The Charleston County Coroner’s office is one of several coroner’s offices in the state to receive national funding to expand their forensic photography capabilities.

The National Network of Public Health Institutes provided a grant to coroners and medical examiners around the country to expand their infrastructure through case management systems, computerization and cameras. The Charleston County Coroner’s Office was awarded $18,000 to replace their cameras.

Previously, the office has had mismatched cameras. Now, all of their investigators will have the exact same cameras.

“We can train and be consistent and be able to provide the best quality photograph in our death investigations,” Charleston County Coroner Bobbi Jo O’Neal said.

A total of 16 new mirrorless cameras will be coming to Charleston County to be used on scenes as they respond to deaths on roadways or homes, while some will be used in the autopsy facility as they are documenting injuries in the autopsy room. O’Neal said the cameras have great digital quality.

“We want to improve our quality and the quality of investigations that we want to provide to citizens in Charleston County and forensic photography is one of those,” O’Neal said.

O’Neal said they are going to donate their old cameras, which are still good, to other agencies within Charleston County and to other county coroners around the state who do not have cameras.

“I think coroners around the state who don’t currently have cameras are going to be ecstatic to receive them,” O’Neal said. “Many of them are using their personal iPhones, which is probably not the best way to take photos so this gives them a professional method to do that.”

Georgetown County also received grant money to expand their infrastructure. The Georgetown County Coroner’s Office received $5,000 for iPads and internet access so they can correspond with the office while they are in the field in a timely manner.

“Currently we’re using pen and paper,” Georgetown County Coroner Chase Ridgeway said. “We’re making notes and we’re going back and transcribing that back into the computer. Kinda stone age type stuff.”

The Georgetown County Coroner’s Office does already have cameras, according to Ridgeway.