The Medical Examiner and staff of 35 moved into the new 46,000-square-foot Office of the Chief Medical Examiner facility in October 2017. The building is a seismically safe structure that meets national accreditation standards and serves the needs of a 21st-century San Francisco.
Located at 1 Newhall St. in the Bayview-Hunters Point neighborhood, the technologically advanced Office of the Medical Examiner building is one of the nation’s leading facilities of its kind, equipped with a state-of-the-art forensic toxicology laboratory, modern autopsy suite and work stations of investigators and administration.
The modern facility allows the Office of the Medical Examiner to effectively and efficiently carry out its mandated duties as an essential first responder and critical partner in San Francisco's criminal justice system. Medical examiners investigate and sign death certificates for all manners of deaths (homicide, suicide, accident) and deaths of persons who may be unidentified. Services provided by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner are essential and critical for the community. More than 1,200 deaths are investigated each year.
The facility’s generous use of natural light paired with original artwork by local artists makes it a more welcoming environment for loved ones and friends visiting the office to identify decedents and speak with investigators.
The structurally sound and secure building is expected to remain fully operational in the event of a major earthquake -- a marked improvement from the Medical Examiner's’ previous and cramped, outdated and seismically vulnerable offices in the 1950s-era Hall of Justice at 850 Bryant St.
The new building was funded by the $400 million, voter-approved Earthquake Safety and Emergency Response Bond, which is paying for improvements to facilities that allow San Francisco’s first responders to provide 24/7 service to neighborhoods and stay up and running after a major disaster.
What improvements were made to the medical examiner facilities?
The project was designed in accordance with the Essential Services Building Seismic Safety Act to resist the forces of a major earthquake and remain fully operational. It includes provisions for adequate drinking and fire suppression water, power and sanitary sewage storage throughout the period of time during which the building may have to operate off the grid.
The medical examiner facilities were designed for the preservation of evidence and proper storage facilities following a major catastrophe. The newly facility houses each of the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner’s programmatic and first responder functions consisting of: a medical complex, forensics laboratory, administration, field investigations, building support and public functions.