New Law Allows DCFS Employees to Protect Themselves with Pepper Spray

Frontline DCFS employees will soon have a new option to protect themselves in potentially dangerous situations they face in the field now that the Governor has signed legislation to allow the workers to be allowed to carry pepper spray.

Pepper spray is already legal for adults to carry in public for personal defense, but DCFS regulations have not allowed their employees to carry it while on duty.

Senate Bill 1486, filed by State Sen. Steve McClure (R-Springfield), allows DCFS frontline workers to carry pepper spray for defensive purposes while investigating cases involving allegations of child abuse and neglect. The legislation also directs the Illinois State Police to develop a program on the proper use of pepper spray. DCFS employees will be required to complete the program to carry pepper spray in the field.

The legislation was inspired by the murders of two DCFS investigators. Deidre Silas was stabbed to death in January at a home in Thayer during the course of a child welfare 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.

The legislation was signed by the Governor on May 27.

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