Oklahoma Chief Medical Examiner

Oklahoma Chief Medical Examiner
Office of the Chief Medical Examiner
Seal of Oklahoma.svg
Great Seal of Oklahoma
Agency overview
Formed January 2, 1962
Headquarters 901 N. Stonewall
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Employees 72 classified
6 unclassified
Annual budget $7 million
Ministers responsible Kevin Ward, Secretary of Safety and Security
Ted W. Violett, M.D., Chairman of the Board
Agency executives Dr. Andrew Sibley, Interim Chief Medical Examiner
Vacant, Deputy Chief Medical Examiner
Parent agency Board of Medicolegal Invesitgations
Office of the Chief Medical Examiner

The Oklahoma Chief Medical Examiner is the Oklahoma state official responsible for investigating sudden, unexpected, violent or suspicious deaths and determining the cause of death. The Chief Medical Examiner provides toxicological and pathological services to aid in the investigation of any death subject to public inquiry. The Chief Medical Examiner heads the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner (OCME), which is a state agency.

The current Interim Chief Medical Examiner is Dr. Andrew Sibley, who was appointed by the Board on June 5, 2010, amid a growing controversry and political corruption investigation.



The Chief Medical Examiner was created by the Oklahoma Legislature in 1961 but did not receive funding until 1967. The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner is governed by the Board of Medicolegal Investigations. The Chief Medical Examiner must be a licensed physician, trained and certified in forensic pathology.


The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner is under the supervision of the Secretary of Safety and Security. Under Governor of Oklahoma Brad Henry, Kevin Ward is currently serving as the Secretary.

Board of Medicolegal Investigations

The Board of Medicolegal Investigations is the governing is policy-making body for the Chief Medical Examiner. With the exception of one member, all members of the Board are ex officio members or that members designee. The Board elects one of its members to serve as chair and one of its members as vice-chair. Members of the Board receive no compensation for their services on this Board.

The current Board members are:

  • Ted W. Violett, M.D. (Chairman)
  • Tom Jordan
  • Nancy Hall, Ph.D.
  • Jim Cooper, Vice-Chairman
  • Michael Crutcher, M.D.
  • John Fernandes, D.O.
  • Shanda McKenney


The Board appoints the Chief Medical Examiner, who serves at the Board's pleasure. The Chief Medical Examiner is the chief executive of OCME and is responsible for the overall performance of its duties. The Chief Medical Examiner also serves be an ex officio nonvoting member of the Board.


The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner is central part of the 2010 Oklahoma political corruption investigation.


  • Board of Medicolegal Investigations
    • Chief Medical Examiner
      • Deputy Chief Medical Examiner
        • Administration Division
        • Central Investigation Division
        • Eastern Investigation Division
        • District Offices

Powers and Duties

Oklahoma law requires that all human deaths of the types listed below must be reported to the Chief Medical Examiner and investigated by him.

  • Violent deaths, whether apparently homicidal, suicidal or accidental including but not limited to deaths due to thermal, chemical, electrical or radiational injury and deaths due to criminal abortions, whether self-induced or not.
  • Deaths under suspicious, unusual or unnatural means.
  • Deaths related to disease which might constitute a threat to public health.
  • Deaths unattended by a licensed medical or osteopathic physician for fatal or potentially fatal illness.
  • Deaths of persons after unexplained coma.
  • Deaths that are medically unexpected and that occur during a therapeutic procedure.
  • Deaths of any inmate occurring in any place of penal incarceration.
  • Deaths of persons whose bodies are to be cremated, buried at sea, transported out of state or otherwise made ultimately unavailable for pathological study.


See also

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