DuPage County sheriff's deputies now have a new lifesaving tool at their disposal.
Officials announced Friday that deputies began carrying EpiPens this week as part of their new "Go-Bag Med Kits," which also include Narcan, AEDs and other first-aid supplies.
Sgt. Bob Harris said the initial rollout gave an EpiPen to all patrol deputies. The next phase, he said, will be placing them, strategically, throughout the courthouse and jail.
The effort to get the allergen-blocking pens to deputies was led by the mother of a 13-year-old Elmhurst girl whose death from an allergic reaction in 2015 inspired a new law aimed at saving others in similar circumstances.
Shelly LeGere started the Annie LeGere Foundation, www.AmazingAnnie.org, which promotes allergy awareness and research, educates parents and children about the signs and symptoms of allergic reactions and what to do when they occur. LeGere also spearheaded efforts with state Sen. Chris Nybo and county board member Pete DiCianni to get "Annie's Law" passed last August in Illinois.
"It's this collaborative effort that really paved the way for this significant moment in law enforcement," Undersheriff Frank Bibbiano wrote in a prepared statement. "I'm proud that our agency is the pilot agency for carrying EpiPen's and along with our new Go-Bag Med Kits our deputies can now access the EpiPen's and other lifesaving supplies quickly and efficiently."
"By making this commitment, they're taking an active stance to reduce allergen-related deaths in our community -- which are highly preventable, like in the case of our own Annie LeGere," Nybo said. "It's a bittersweet day, and I cannot thank Shelly and the LeGere family enough for sharing their story and working with me to create this lifesaving measure to protect the futures of so many."