Here at the Sheriff’s office we pride ourselves on having a long history of serving San Luis Obispo residents with professionalism, innovation, and compassion. In September of 2017, I hired our first full-time Sheriff’s Forensic Pathologist who has made history herself. Dr. Joye Carter is the first African-American to be appointed as a Chief Medical Examiner in the history of the United States. Dr. Carter is a triple board-certified physician with 30 years of experience in the field of Forensic Pathology.
Before Dr. Carter came to work at the Sheriff’s Office, she was appointed as the Deputy Chief Medical Examiner of the Armed Forces Medical Examiner Department, Chief Medical Examiner of the District of Columbia, and Chief Medical Examiner of Harris County, Texas. She made further history when she became the first African- American and female to be appointed as the Chief Forensic Pathologist to the Coroner of Indianapolis, Indiana. Dr. Carter is a retired United States Air Force Major. She earned her B.A. from Wittenberg University and her M.D. from Howard University College of Medicine. Dr. Carter was also awarded an Honorary Doctor of Science degree from Randolph-Macon College this year. I was honored when Dr. Carter accepted a position here at the Sheriff’s Office, and she has done an outstanding job in her role.
As the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office’s Forensic Pathologist, Dr. Carter performs all required autopsies. She does medical inspections and medical record reviews to determine the cause of sudden, violent, or unexpected deaths. She is able to testify as an expert wit- ness, and assist in formulating investigative direction for the Coroner Unit’s investigations. Dr. Carter seamlessly entered our Coroner’s Unit team, and has become one of our office’s biggest assets. Detectives working with Dr. Carter credit her with elevating the in-depth quality of our investigations to a level not seen before in this county. She is both professional and affable. Dr. Carter approaches pathology from a place of compassion for the family, while focusing on the science involved, and ensuring a proper and thorough investigation.
Aside from Dr. Carter’s work as a forensic pathologist, she has also written three books which are titled My Strength Comes from Within,
I Speak for the Dead, and Let Me Give You a Peace of My Mind: Don’t Rent Space in Your Head, Evict Negativity. She is also working on a fourth book which she has not yet released. Dr. Carter has the ability to communi- cate effectively to a variety of audiences about her passion for what she does, and her hopes for the future of forensic pathology.
It is professionals and innovators like Dr. Carter that make the Sheriff’s Office proud of the history we are creating. In 2017 the Coroner’s Unit reviewed over 1,600 reportable deaths in San Luis Obispo County. As individ- uals and families experience the loss of their loved ones, I know they will be treated with the utmost respect and compassion, and that the deceased’s death will be investigated with the highest level of competency. It is my goal that we continue to be innovators in the field of forensic pathology.
I am grateful for Dr. Carter’s expertise here at the Sheriff’s Office. As the Sheriff-Coroner, I along with the Coroner Investigation Unit am honored to serve the residents of San Luis Obispo County.