Following another murder of a DCFS employee, a bipartisan panel of legislators from both the Senate and the House have filed new legislation designed to help these employees protect themselves.
Senate Bill 4165 and House Bill 5688 both would allow DCFS employees to carry mace or pepper spray for defensive purposes while investigating child abuse and neglect. The employees would be required to complete a short training program from the Illinois State Police on the proper use of pepper spray.
The legislation is in response to the murders of two DCFS investigators. Deidre Silas was stabbed to death in January at a home in Thayer during the course of an investigation. In February 2018, Pamela Knight died in the hospital from injuries sustained during a brutal attack that occurred while she was trying to take a child into protective custody.
Lawmakers unveiled their bills at a press conference at the Illinois State Capitol on Feb. 15. They were joined by other lawmakers from across the state, along with former DCFS employees who spoke in support of the legislation.