Open Government Report 2014

To institutionalize a culture of transparent and open government, accountability, and to
expand opportunities for resident participation and collaboration, this Report describes
how the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner (OCME) has and will continue to develop
and enhance transparency, public participation, and collaboration. In accordance with
Mayor’s Order 2014-170, this report addresses the following topics:

Describe the steps your agency has taken or plans to take to be more transparent.
Please include a description of:
 How and to what extent your agency shares information with the public, e.g.
publication of information in the District register and on the agency website,
press releases, and documents in the agency’s FOIAXpress reading room.
The OCME is committed to a transparent and open form of Government.
District agencies are required to make certain records available, including: 1)
employee salary information; 2) statements of policy; 3) published opinions;
4) agency performance plans; 5) budget information; 6) District wide FOIA
reports; and 7) OCME’s organizational chart. OCME is incompliance with
this open government mandate and the above enumerated information can be
found on OCME’s website at

How the agency meets its obligations pursuant to the District’s Freedom of
Information Act and Open Meetings Act.
The OCME meets it obligation to FOIA by issuing timely responses to
requestors. Moreover, when appropriate, OCME posts frequently requested
documents, or documents of public interest, to the OCME’s FOIAXpress
reading room. The OCME meets its obligations to the Open Meetings Act by
ensuring compliance for the three (3) Fatality Review Committees
administered by the OCME.


Steps your agency will take to increase public access to information.
OCME will continue to timely respond to FOIA requests and post relevant
information, when appropriate, to the FOIAXpress reading room.
Additionally, OCME is committed to assisting FOIA requestors in identifying
the proper agency to direct FOIA requests to for timely response.


Steps your agency will take, including an implementation timeline, to webcast
live and archive on the internet board or commission meetings.
The OCME administers three (3) Fatality Review Boards on behalf of the
District. Due to the nature of the materials reviewed by committee members
Case Reviews are Closed to the Public pursuant to D.C. Official Code §§2575(b)(1) as the law or court order requires that a particular matter or
proceeding not be public; and 2-575(b)(14) to plan, discuss, or hear reports
concerning ongoing or planned investigations of alleged criminal or civil
misconduct or violations of law or regulations, if disclosure to the public
would harm the investigation. However, OCME is committed to working
with BEGA to assess how best to comply with live webcasts and archives of
the meetings when appropriate and legally allowable.


How your agency has taken or plans to take steps to make more of its data
available to the public.
OCME is working closely with the Office of the City Administrator (OCA)
and the Office of the Chief Technology Officer (OCTO) to identify a
significant number of datasets that OCA and OCTO expect to publish online
later this year. If no dataset from OCME is selected to be included in this 2014
release, we will continue to work with OCA and OCTO to identify datasets
appropriate to publish in 2015. In the future, requirements for open data
reporting will be provided by the Chief Data Officer.


Public Engagement and Participation
Describe the steps your agency has taken or plans to take to enhance or expand
opportunities for the public to participate in agency decision-making. Please include
a description of:
 How your agency provides online access to proposed rules and regulations
and secures public input on them. Please list links to specific websites.
The OCME, in conjunction with the Department of Forensic Sciences,
published notice of a proposed rulemaking in support of the D.C. Breath
Alcohol Testing Program on April 27, 2014 for public comment. OCME is
committed to seeking public comment when there are amendments to OCME
specific regulations or statutes. Moreover, OCME publicly notices statutory
authority granted to OCME for death investigations on the OCME website.
Questions or comments from the public can be direct to the linked titled “Ask
the Chief Medical Examiner” for a response within 24 hours of receipt or the
next business day.

How your agency shares information and resources to keep the public
properly informed, e.g. community meetings, public hearings, FAQs, and

ways the public can provide input such as Twitter,, email
OCME publishes notice of all three (3) Fatality Review Committee meetings
in accordance when the Open Meetings Act. Moreover, OCME is committed
to providing timely response to media inquiries, bloggers, private citizens
when requested and the information sought is subject to public release.

How your agency identifies stakeholders and invites their participation.
OCME has a variety of stakeholders including first responders, Funeral
Directors, educational institutions, health care entities, and public health
agencies. To invite participation with these stakeholders, OCME has attended
various board and commission meetings, lectured at educational institutions,
established formal and informal relationships with health care entities to better
serve the District, and has actively worked with public health agencies to help
inform protocols for the safe handling and dignified disposition of decedent


Steps your agency will take to improve public engagement and participation
including any new feedback tools or mechanisms the agency is considering.
OCME will continue to timely respond to public inquires when the requested
information is subject to public release. OCME is working on a new initiative
utilizing GSI mapping to compile death data to improve public health
surveillance that will better inform policy decisions District wide and will
encourage pubic engagement.


Describe the steps your agency has taken or plans to take to enhance or expand
cooperation among departments, other governmental agencies, the public, and nonprofit and private entities in fulfilling its obligations. Please include a description of:
 How your agency currently collaborates with the above parties. Please list
links to specific websites if appropriate.
OCME has been working to improve relationships with educational
institutions, public health organizations and District agencies to better serve
the District. This initiative has included OCME’s use of the state of the art
Consolidated Forensic Laboratory (CFL) to expose stakeholders to the facility
and capabilities of District agencies housed at the CFL. OCME is committed
to strengthening relationships with our District government agency partners to
improve response and provide expertise in public emergency events involving
mass fatalities.



Steps your agency will take to improve collaboration with the above parties
including any new feedback tools or mechanisms the agency is considering,
e.g. prizes, competitions, and other innovative methods.
OCME will continue to timely respond to public inquires when the requested
information is subject to public release. As formal partnerships with these
entities develops, points of contact will be identified to coordinate response to
internal inquiries and to initiate public participation via educational
opportunities and representation at professional societies through services as
keynote speaks and, when ethically permissible, as formal members in the
societal organization.