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Forensic Anthropologist

Washington D.C.
Crystal, Virginia
Closing date
Jul 18, 2024

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Position Type
Full Time
Organization Type
General Job Information

Job Summary

This position is located in the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner (OCME). The mission of this agency is to investigate and certify all deaths in the District of Columbia that occur by any means of violence (injury), and those that occur without explanation or medical attention, in custody, or which pose a threat to public health.

Duties and Responsibilities

Oversees the OCME Decedent Identification Program ensuring that identifications are made in an accurate and efficient manner according to agency and federal policies and procedures; and formulates and updates standard operating procedures for the Decedent Identification Program by utilizing principles of medico legal death investigation and forensic anthropology. Manages the caseload of unidentified decedents and provides guidance to the Case Processing, Mortuary, and Investigations staff to prepare unidentified remains for evaluation and coordinate alternative identifications of those deceased individuals who cannot be identified visually. Submits fingerprints of unidentified decedents to the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) for comparison and/or enters and manages cases in the National Missing and Unidentified Persons Database (NamUs). Focuses on skeletal structures, and the examinations often include DNA analysis; and prepares remains for evaluation and assists in the processing of remains as required for x-ray, dental odontology, radiology, or DNA analysis. Completes radiographs and assists with comparisons for identification; and works with dental, fingerprint, and DNA samples for identification purposes. Works with contracted odontologists, radiologists, the District's Department of Forensic Sciences (DFS), and DNA laboratories to facilitate the identification process for unidentified decedents. Produces reports on the numbers and status of cases requiring alternative identifications. Responds to death scenes as needed and aids investigators and mortuary staff in the search and archaeological recovery of remains, specifically skeletonized, scattered, and charred, at death scenes. Processes and studies of skeletal remains to determine race ancestry, age, sex, trauma, surgical intervention, and other physical characteristics; and reports to scenes of mass fatality incidents for the purpose of evaluating the incident scene and planning for OCME response, as related to the identification process. Reports on biological indicators, trauma determinations and/or toolmark evaluations found on human remains. Analyzes difficult and complex cases and recommends next steps in cases where identification cannot be made visually.

Applies scientific analysis to legal situations involving human remains; and assists investigators and other professionals to uncover and examine human remains in the search and archaeological recovery of remains at death scenes. Applies scientific analysis to legal situations involving human remains; and assists investigators and other professionals to uncover and examine human remains in the search and archaeological recovery of remains at death scenes. Analyzes remains that usually require utilizing specialized equipment and technology in order to draw conclusions about the life of the deceased, including determining identity and pinpointing the conditions under which the death occurred. Performs anthropological laboratory testing and examinations according to the American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors Laboratory Accreditation Board Standards (ASCLD/Lab Standards). Interacts with investigators, medical examiners, intake assistants, administration autopsy assistants, pathologists' assistants, forensic photographers, and medical transcriptionists. Prepares documentation regarding findings and analysis that are instrumental in preparing results; and identifying problems that may alter decisions; and ensures that all documentation is in the appropriate order for court cases and/or final discovery. Documents and assists in the recovery of deceased human remains. The Incumbent will be responsible for the coordination of identification efforts in mass fatality incidents and participates in the identification process, particularly with DNA identification. Develops and validates criteria in the recognition of complex, subtle forensic anthropology issues; and maintains and prepares detailed documentation of analysis. Also, identifies problems and anticipates discrepancies in the results. The work requires assessing, evaluating, modifying, and adapting various methods to satisfy requirements and to arrive at sound conclusions. Develops and updates standard operating procedures and policies as related to the identification process and forensic anthropology. Facilitates the goals, objectives, and mission of OCME and assists both citizens and their representatives (such as funeral directors), and governmental entities (such as the District of Columbia Metropolitan Police Department and the courts) in carrying out their functions; and resolves critical problems and/or develop new theories.

Qualifications and Education

A degree in biological sciences, agriculture, natural resource management, chemistry, or related disciplines appropriate to the position.


Combination of education and experience: Courses equivalent to a major, as shown in A above, plus appropriate experience or additional education.

In addition, Specialized Experience: Experience that equipped the applicant with the particular knowledge, skills, and abilities to perform successfully the duties of the position, and that is typically in or related to the work of the position to be filled. To be creditable, one (1) year of specialized experience must have been equivalent to at least the next lower grade level in the normal line of progression.

Licensure and Certifications

Membership in the American Academy of Forensic Sciences (AAFS) is preferred.

Working Conditions/Environment

The work is mainly performed in a typical office setting.

Other Significant Facts

Pay Plan, Series and Grade: MS-0401-14

Salary Range: $114,441.00 - $160,216.00; based on funding

Type of Appointment: Management Supervisory Service (MSS)

Duration of Appointment: Management Supervisory Service (MSS), "At-Will". All positions and appointments in the Management Supervisory Service serve at the pleasure of the appointing authority and may be terminated at any time with or without cause.

Collective Bargaining Unit: This position is not covered under a collective bargaining agreement

Promotion Potential: No known promotion potential

Emergency/Essential Designation: This position is designated as essential (DPM Chapter 12) and will be required to report to work and remain in the event of inclement weather, a declared emergency or government closing.

The position is included in the Mass Fatality Plan of the OCME and the incumbent will be called upon to perform duties should circumstances arise that require the plan to be activated.

Position Designation: This position has been designated as security sensitive therefore the incumbent of this position will be subject to enhanced suitability screening pursuant to Chapter 4 of DC Personnel Regulations, Suitability and as such, incumbents of this position shall be subject to criminal background checks, background investigations, and mandatory drug and alcohol testing, as applicable.

Residency Requirement: If the position you are applying for is in the Career, Management Supervisory, or Educational Service at an annual salary of one hundred fifty thousand dollars ($150,000) or more, you must establish residency in the District of Columbia within one hundred eighty (180) days of the effective date of the appointment and continue to maintain residency within the District of Columbia throughout the duration of the appointment.

EEO Statement: The District of Columbia Government is an Equal Opportunity Employer. All qualified candidates will receive consideration without regard to race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, marital status, personal appearance, sexual orientation, family responsibilities, matriculation, physical handicap, or political affiliation.

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