The Administration Division of the Institute exists to support the internal functions and operations of this Harris County department and to develop and implement short- and long-range planning objectives. The Administrative Division works in concert with various other Harris County Departments and offices to ensure a robust forensic operation for the citizens of Harris County.
Business Management

Administrative Services

Administrative Services is responsible for assisting families, funeral homes, law enforcement agencies and the public with a variety of needs. Administrative Services works with families to provide them with pertinent information about their loved one’s case. The staff is able to help families understand the death certificate process and, if necessary, the death certificate amendment process. Autopsy reports requests also are received and processed by the Administrative Services.

The Administrative Services staff works closely with funeral homes to ensure that death certificates are completed and able to be filed in a timely manner and to process requests for the issuance of cremation waivers. The staff also electronically completes the medical portion of the death certificate for each deceased individual examined by the Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences. The Institute’s portion of this document is completed within the guidelines set by the Texas Department of State Health Services using the Texas Electronic Registration death process they provide online.

Family Liaison

Family Liaison Team:
(832) 927-5006

The Family Liaison Section serves as a contact for the family in helping them obtain information related to the loss of their loved one. This section provides timely and accurate information to the families.

Report Preparation and Distribution

The Report Preparation and Distribution Section oversees the external transcription service, which transcribes all case reports dictated by forensic pathologists, and makes certain that transcribed reports are complete, factual and prepared properly. The section also ensures that finalized reports are stored in a secure database, which this section maintains. Using the Autopsy Report Request Tracking System, this section is able to track the movement of a case file throughout the preparation and finalization process.

Records Section

The Records Section is responsible for the maintenance of all Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences’ case-related information, including all records, files and reports related to the Institute’s pathology and crime laboratory cases. Once a case is completed, the Records Section ensures that all files and reports related to the case are compiled and that the post-mortem examination report, also referred to as an autopsy report, is made available to other agencies through a secure database – the Deputy Exploration of Electronic Documents (DEEDS) system. The Records Section is responsible for housing all case records in an on-site file room for a period of five years after which they are transferred to the Harris County Records Center.

Financial Services

The Financial Services Section is responsible for carrying out the fiscal duties of the Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences, including:

  • Budget management and preparation – Oversees the budget preparation and adherence for each of the Institute’s departments.
  • Procurement – Purchases supplies and tracks equipment for the Institute, ensuring that the agency obtains competitive quotes and that the correct documentation is provided to Harris County, as required by State of Texas law.
  • Accounts payable and receivable – Processes, verifies and reconciles invoices and ensures timely payment; generates invoices and monitors collection of invoices for services provided by the Institute to outside agencies.
  • Grants management – Oversees the application and award process for grants awarded to the Institute by ensuring that proper documentation is provided to Harris County Commissioners Court. In addition, grants awarded to the Institute are financially monitored for compliance of grant guidelines.
  • Property inventory – Annually reconciles property inventory and tracks new inventory; oversees the disposal or transfer of surplus property with the assistance of the Harris County Purchasing Services Department.
  • Equipment maintenance – Tracks the equipment maintenance schedule to ensure financial arrangements, such as contracts and purchase orders, are in place at the time of maintenance.
  • Payroll and employee benefits – Processes bi-weekly time reporting, maintains employee files, administers changes in employee status, and coordinates the annual employee insurance and benefits open enrollment.
Information Technology

Information Technology

The Information Technology team is responsible for the day-to-day oversight of all applications, computers, LAN and telephony systems. Information Technology is comprised of two main sections: Application and Program Support and Technology Infrastructure. Both sections work on a variety of separate projects but share the responsibility of maintaining data integrity for the Institute. The Information Technology team evaluates and recommends infrastructure for increased data automation, the use of the networked computing and assistance to project future technology growth for each department. The Information Technology team provides professional support by assessing the cause of hardware- or software-related problems using the most effect means available while maintaining an efficient and secure network.

Information Technology Team Functions:

  • Update and management of all operating systems
  • Specialized forensic statistical support
  • Maintenance and repair of all hardware
  • 24/7 hardware and application support
  • Information security
  • User training

Application and Program Support

The development, implementation and maintenance of unique forensic applications are crucial for concise analytical reporting in the forensic laboratories and medical divisions. This sector of the Information Technology team provides specialized programming functions as required in an effort to gather unique data while providing standardization of reports.

Ongoing application development for the Institute of Forensic Sciences involves a collaborative effort with each division, outside application entities and forward-thinking users as well as the needs of Harris County citizens. Application/Program Support analyzes the network and computer requirements for each new program as part of their standard process of software implementation. All new programs are reviewed under stringent guidelines and approved by the quality assurance section to maintain all the Institute’s certifications.

Desktop Technology Infrastructure

Desktop support and computer stabilization ensures a secure computing environment for all the Institute’s divisions on both networked and non-networked devices. Designing and ensuring a reliable network within a secured environment by providing help desk services, and reliable and cost-effective computer configurations is the primary key to maintaining an effective hardware domain. In conjunction with other team members, a coordinated effort is used to streamline all processes related with computer purchases, installation and maintenance of in-house equipment. All computers, mobile computers, printers and other electronic devices are configured within the standards set forth by Harris County and the Institute of Forensic Sciences in an effort to protect the network from security threats. The Information Technology team keeps abreast of new and evolving technology and works with staff members to test and implement new systems.