SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – After an animal control officer was killed on the job in November, his mother went on a crusade to save other officers.
Her wish is now coming true; all animal control officers will soon get bulletproof vests, and that’s not all.
Safety procedures were reviewed after the shooting that killed Roy Marcum. Even though they may not have avoided the deadly situation, the animal control officers will be getting more safety equipment and training.
“He’s a coward, that’s all I have to say. Only a coward would shoot through a door,” Marcum’s mother Charlotte Marcum-Rush told CBS13 in November.
Her son never saw it coming. He was shot during an eviction, causing a call for change from his mother.
“Five hundred dollars is what a bulletproof vest costs,” she said in a previous interview. “What’s a life? It’s worth more than a bulletproof vest.”
Now, Sacramento County animal control officers are getting what she says her son asked for before his death.
“We are moving forward with getting the protective vests for the officers,” said Sacramento Animal Control Director David Dickinson.
All 12 animal control officers with the county will get bulletproof vests by next month, and there’s talk they may be trained to use tasers.
“We do knock and talks on doors just like police and sheriff’s do and we don’t have any protection, any personal protection,” said Dickinson.
Since the shooting of one of their own, the director of the animal shelter says they’re more cautious while out in the field. They ask for backup when they don’t feel comfortable.
“We’ve gone to a lot of abandonment calls at properties where people just left the animals behind. We don’t know if there’s somebody in the house or not,” said Dickinson.
Even though a bulletproof vest wouldn’t have saved Marcum in his case, Dickinson says the protection they’re getting is better than what they have now – nothing.
“Any time you pick up the newspaper or look at the nightly news, there’s some tragedy going on. Someone’s losing their life over foolish behavior, over somebody else,” said Dickinson.
The California Animal Control Association is asking for funding to get all animal control agencies to get bulletproof vests statewide.
Animal control officers say they asked for bulletproof vests several years ago. The now-former director wanted the officers to wear the vests at all times, but the officers disagreed and the idea went no where.
That was a different administration and many of those officers have since moved on, since Dickinson. The new officers, he said, are in full favor of the vests after Marcum’s shooting.