In an effort to increase the safety of investigators at the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS), Senator Steve McClure participated in the DCFS defensive pepper spray training on Friday. The program provides training on the safe, proper, and effective use of pepper spray for defensive purposes.
McClure and the other participants in the training were also subjected to being sprayed with pepper spray, in order to experience the effects firsthand and prepare for situations where wind or other factors may cause them to be exposed to the spray. The training program was created by Senator McClure's legislation, which he filed in response to the tragic deaths of two DCFS investigators, Pamela Knight and Deidre Silas, who were killed in the line of duty. Silas was one of McClure's constituents.
Before the bill was passed, DCFS policy didn't allow investigators to carry pepper spray to defend themselves on the job. This put them at a disadvantage in situations where they may have faced physical danger. In response, McClure filed legislation to allow DCFS investigators to carry pepper spray and provide them with the necessary training to use it properly.
The pepper spray training program is part of a broader effort to increase the safety of DCFS investigators. Along with the ability to carry pepper spray, DCFS investigators are now receiving additional training in de-escalation techniques and are being provided with better protective equipment.