SACRAMENTO -- After multiple attacks on groundskeepers inside Capitol Park, their union requested employees be allowed to carry pepper spray.
State records show five groundskeepers have been attacked around the State Capitol building over the past year.
“I personally have friends who have been attacked before and I think it’s safe to have something on you,” said state employee Manny Singh. “It’s been a huge issue for a while around here.”
Last month, the groundskeepers’ union filed a grievance with the California Department of General Services requesting employees be provided and trained with pepper spray.
This week, the department responded saying under state law, employees may carry pepper spray but it has “yet to determine” whether it will provide the weapons or the training.
Groundskeepers at work on Monday said they couldn’t speak to FOX40. But their fellow state employees support the move, agreeing carrying pepper spray is a good way to protect themselves.
“I think protection of the people comes first,” said one employee named Daniel. “So, if they’re defending their lives or their bodies, I think some measures need to be taken.”
The state has provided groundskeepers with new training for how to deal with any dangerous homeless people in the park, an area most say becomes riskier at night.
“Some of the homeless that sleep here, they don’t like their possessions moved,” Daniel told FOX40. “So I think that’s what’s maybe aggregating some of them.”
Many other state workers are also taking precautions.
“I've been seen some of my employees getting yelled at or harassed, so we always try to walk in a group,” Daniel said.
The groundskeepers union said it is going to keep pushing for the department to buy them pepper spray and train them.