Fremont County Coroner Ed McAuslan meets with the Fremont County Commission. File photo.

(Lander, Wyo.) – The Fremont County Commission has given Coroner Ed McAuslan the go-ahead to find a way to work a forensic pathologist position into his 2014-15 budget.

McAuslan said in 2013 his office had 56 cases that required autopsies. Currently, Fremont County sends autopsy cases to a forensic pathologist in Loveland, Colo. He said generally the trips require about 10 hours from two employees. If the weather is OK the entire trip can take only one day.

Based on surveys with other nearby counties there’s potential for Fremont County’s pathologist to do 173 autopsies, amounting to roughly $170,000 in extra revenue. A least one other county has expressed interest in utilizing a more local forensic pathologist, McAuslan said, but did not return the survey.

Commission Chairman Doug Thompson asked if there was any way to reduce the number of required autopsies. McAuslan said his office doesn’t order any that are unnecessary.

At this time, McAuslan also couldn’t think of any renovations to the current morgue that would need to be made to accommodate a pathologist. The only additional cost he could think of was some one-time equipment expenditures.

McAuslan is still working on the budgetary details, but his proposal will be to make the pathologist a county employe, perhaps basing the salary at least in part on the number of autopsies performed. At one point there was a possibility that Natrona County could share the salary for the position, but that is no longer looking possible, he said.

While there is someone that has specifically reached out and worked with McAuslan about the possibility of creating the position, he said he fine with soliciting applications. He noted that several others have reached out after the possibility was discussed last November.