Information is collected from death certificates, coroner/medical examiner reports, police reports, crime laboratory reports, toxicology reports, and child fatality review team reports and then combined into the KVDRS database. After all information is stripped of personal identifying information, it is sent to the national database to be combined with information from other funded states. Together, this information provides a more complete picture of violent death in the Commonwealth which can then be used to possibly prevent these tragic events. Without these pieces, we cannot accurately see and explain the problem of violent death in Kentucky or in the nation.
Office of Vital Statistics
The Office of Vital Statistics provides a monthly electronic death certificate file of cases meeting the CDC’s definition of violent death. More information is then requested of the remaining data providers.
Coroners in Kentucky investigate the cause and manner of all deaths that are defined as coroner's cases by KRS 72.405. There are 120 county coroners’ offices in the Commonwealth and most provide investigation reports to the KVDRS on homicides, suicides, and gun-related deaths.
Office of the State Medical Examiner
The Kentucky Office of the State Medical Examiner staff assists Kentucky coroners in all aspects of death investigations by determining the cause and manner of death and identification of the deceased. The 13 forensic specialists, including 11 pathologists who perform autopsies, annually conduct nearly 2,500 autopsies at offices located in Louisville, Frankfort, Madisonville and Ft. Thomas.
Kentucky State Police
The Kentucky State Police Criminal Identification & Records Branch is responsible for receiving, analyzing, and maintaining records of traffic accidents, law enforcement activities, criminal cases and statistics, criminal history and identification documents. The KSP provides information on homicide investigations to the KVDRS.
Kentucky State Police Forensic Laboratory System
The Kentucky State Police Forensic Laboratory System is the only forensic laboratory within the Commonwealth of Kentucky. The KSP lab system consists of a central lab in Frankfort, and five regional laboratories geographically located throughout the state. Evidence collected by Kentucky's law enforcement agencies is submitted to the KSP Central Lab or to a regional laboratory located in their community. The KSPFL provides the KVDRS with weapon information on homicides.
Child Fatality Review
Child Fatality Review in Kentucky (under KRS 211.680) establishes priorities and develops child death prevention programs within the Department for Public Health. The following is a link to the handbook that is referenced as the standards of practice for local child fatality review teams.
Kentucky Child Fatality Review System Handbook
The local team composition, similar to that of the state team, includes multidisciplinary representation from the medical, legal, social and child protection services, law enforcement, mental health counseling, consumer and other key community organizations focusing on child safety issues. When violent death cases are reviewed by a local team, a summary is provided to the KVDRS.