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California's combination of sheriff and coroner appears to skew death-by-police numbers

Very few states combine the job of county sheriff with that of the county coroner, and California is one of them. In fact, most of California's counties have a sheriff-coroner enforcing the law and investigating deaths at the same time.

Critics say there could be a conflict of interest when the sheriff has to investigate a death at the hands of police. And recent research appears to back up that view. Brian Finch led a team at the Dornsife Center at the University of Southern California who went through death statistics... and found the combination of jobs leads to an underreporting of police-caused deaths.

Dr. Finch spends some time laying out the research in a visit to the JX.

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The Jefferson Exchange is Jefferson Public Radio's daily news program focused on issues, people and events across Southern Oregon and Northern California. Angela Decker is the program's senior producer, Charlie Zimmermann is the assistant producer, and Geoffrey Riley hosts the show.