DYS to implement body-worn cameras, OC spray

Posted Nov. 7, 2022 by

In a major announcement from Director Amy Ast, two security measures will be implemented in the Department of Youth Services after numerous weeks that resulted in serious injuries to staff. In an email, the DYS Director announced that the agency will be implementing body-worn cameras as well as OC spray.

Union leaders have long asked for the use of OC spray as a deterrent to violence and to keep Juvenile Correction Officers and other staff safe. In her memo to staff, Director Ast indicated that OC spray will help “reduce injuries to staff who by policy relied on the use of physical restraint.” That could also keep staff from being off on Workers Compensation or disability leave.

Additionally, the agency will form a “multi-disciplinary committee,” that will include OCSEA leaders who will “review and revise the current use-of-force policy and use-of-force continuum.”

Union leaders in DYS said of the announcement that at least management is listening and taking suggestions from union members now.

Before either measure goes into effect, management will be talking to union leaders regarding how they would be implemented, what the training will look like, who’s going to carry OC spray, among other considerations. Watch this space for updates.

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Last week, OCSEA and AFSCME activists joined their Indian River Youth Services SEIU District 1199 brothers and sisters on the picket line in Massillon to educate the community about the dangers of understaffing and violence plaguing Ohio's youth correctional facilities. See photos from the event HERE.