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INSIDE JOB

Occupation: Deputy Coroner

October 14, 1991|Researched by DALLAS M. JACKSON / Los Angeles Times

Name: Leslie Meader

Employer: Orange County sheriff-coroner

Thumbs up: "I like the fact that I'm making a difference. I'm helping people--helping them find out what happened. When they understand mode and manner of death, it helps them deal with their loss better. That's the goal. I have an interesting job. It's different everyday--especially in Orange County where I deal with different ethnic backgrounds and religions."

Thumbs down: "I don't have any dislikes. I like my job. The only thing I dislike is death notification, but I'd rather I do it than someone who doesn't care."

Next step: "Some of the investigators move up to watch commander. But I'm content as an investigator--I'm at my goal."

Advice: "This job requires someone who is sensitive but inquisitive. You have to look at all aspects of an investigation. A background in police work or mortuary experience would help. Also persistence. Because of the cutbacks, they're not hiring people."

Salary range: $2,497 to $3,335 per month

Fringe benefits: Paid holidays, vacations, medical, dental, sick leave, life insurance and retirement plans.

Hours: The office is open around the clock. Deputy coroners work in shifts.

Educational and training requirements: One year in the Orange County class of forensic assistant or forensic specialist, or in an equivalent combination of experience as a criminal investigator or coroner's investigator. The second option is two years' experience in a paramedical field, though college-level training in criminology, police science, biological sciences or other related subjects may be substituted for up to one year of experience.

Size of work force: In Orange County, there are 14 deputy coroners and one chief deputy coroner. Brad Gates is the sheriff-coroner.

Expected demand: Slight, because of budget cutbacks.

Job description: Determines manner, mode and circumstances of an accidental death, suicide, homicide or any other traumatic death or where someone has not been in the attendance of physician 20 days before death. Deputy coroners also make timely notifications to the family.

For more information: Orange County Personnel Department (714) 834-2828

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