The system of death investigation in Clark County transitioned from a coroner system to a medical examiner system on Jan. 1, 1999. This change was initiated by the then-Board of County Commissioners, now called Board of County Councilors, and approved by the voters of Clark County in fall 1996. The authority to make the change came earlier that year when the Washington State Legislature passed a statute (RCW 36.24.190) that allowed counties with a population of 250,000 or more to adopt a medical examiner system to replace the elected coroner system.
To be appointed medical examiner, the statute requires the individual to be either certified as a forensic pathologist (physician) by the American Board of Pathology or a pathologist eligible to take the examination for certification within one year of appointment and pass the exam within three years.
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