16.050 - Death Notifications

Effective Date: 6/20/2003


By law, the Medical Examiner’s Office conducts next-of-kin notifications for most deaths occurring in King County. Occasionally, the Seattle Police Department is asked to conduct a notification, or to convey an emergency message. To the extent that the request will not interfere with either the statutory duties of the medical examiner or any investigation, the Department will attempt to provide this service to the community.


When requested to do so, department employees will notify next-of-kin in the event of a death or imminent death of a person. It is recognized that these notifications are “crisis” service calls; therefore, officers may take any reasonable action to assist the person through what is often an overwhelming time (this may include transport, phone calls, chaplain services, etc).

I. Procedure

A. The chief dispatcher shall notify the appropriate Watch Lieutenant of a request to provide a notification, and the nature or circumstances of the notification.

B. The Watch Lieutenant shall determine whether or not to approve the request. Generally, notifications for deaths occurring within King County will be handled by the medical examiner. If approved, the Watch Lieutenant shall direct the chief dispatcher to dispatch the call, or alternatively, may elect to personally handle the notification.

C. The appropriate Watch Lieutenant shall personally notify the next-of-kin of an employee’s death or serious injury.