County gets grant for new morgue at sheriff’s office

The Cascade County Sheriff’s Office has been awarded a $58,008 grant from the U.S. Department of Justice to assist with COVID-19 related expenses.

The County Commission accepted the grant during their June 9 meeting and had in May approved a contract with a local grant writer to prepare applications for this and other grants.

The funding from this grant will be used to convert the attached garage at the CCSO complex into a county morgue and purchase additional personal protective equipment.

County exploring options for splitting coroner from CCSO

The garage isn’t being used currently and Sheriff Jesse Slaughter said it has a secure door that will allow law enforcement to drive up and move bodies of the deceased for autopsy or evidence collection into a fully functioning morgue next to the existing evidence area at CCSO.

The department currently uses space at Benefis Health System for a morgue, but there was concern that if there were to be multiple COVID-19 related deaths, that space could be quickly overrun, Slaughter said.

Slaughter said his office will go through the county purchasing process to buy the new morgue equipment, which could be moved to a different location in the future should the coroner’s office split from CCSO, a move Slaughter has asked commissioners to consider.