Exline said the bureau is also implementing several safety-training programs, including a defensive safety course in conjunction with the Division of Corrections, and a safety awareness seminar for dealing with individuals under the influence of illegal drugs.
The bureau is also preparing a Safety Procedures Guidebook that will be distributed to all field staff by the end of the month, she said.
The audit found that CPS workers are not permitted to carry pepper spray, sticks or mace for protection from animal or human attacks.
House Finance Chairman Brent Boggs, D-Braxton, questioned that policy, saying there is a real problem with dogs and wild animal attacks in rural parts of the state.
"I see letter carriers carrying pepper spray. I see utility workers carrying pepper spray," he said.
"We have not generally given the OK for pepper spray or mace, but again, those are things we are looking at as we go over our safety measures," Exline responded.
She also told legislators she would be reluctant to allow field workers to carry firearms.
"I think it's very concerning, myself," she said.
Legislative Auditor Aaron Allred said he was pleased with the high level of cooperation from Exline and the bureau, saying they began implementing safety recommendations from the time they received a draft copy of the audit to review.
Reach Phil Kabler at ph...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1220.