California Funeral Home Inspector a ‘Mortician With a Badge’


The Los Angeles Times profiles Steve Allen, a field representative for California’s Cemetery and Funeral Bureau. Called “mortician with a badge,” Allen visits funeral homes to check licenses, inspect embalming and storage rooms and look at the price sheets. He knows how disconcerting the work might sound to an outsider — poking around funeral homes, looking into the backrooms and darkened closets for anything amiss — yet he does not take his authority lightly.

With a staff of 18 and an annual budget of $4 million, the Cemetery and Funeral Bureau employs nine field representatives like Allen whose job is to make sure licensed cemeteries, crematories and funeral establishments are not breaking state laws and regulations. The bureau is overseen by the Department of Consumer Affairs.

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