SACRAMENTO COUNTY (CBS13) — Sacramento County Code Enforcement officers have a new look aimed at keeping them safe as new rules require they wear bulletproof vests.

Ty Colston knocks on doors checking out rundown homes for violations, and for the last few months, he’s been doing his job wearing a bulletproof vest.

“Given the fact that we do wear them now, obviously there is a heightened safety issue,” he said. “But it is a little more comfortable to have us in bulletproof vests.”

The reason for the change came in November 2012 when Sacramento County Animal Control Officer Roy Marcum was killed by a shotgun blast through the door of a foreclosed home.

Following his death, the American Society For The Prevention Of Cruelty To Animals paid to get vests for animal control officers. The county has also spent $750 a vest for its 27 code enforcement officers.

“We get into tense situations all the time. lives have been threatened, code enforcement officers have been threatened to be killed, shot, stabbed,” said division chief Carl Simpson.

The men and women doing this dangerous job work alone most of the time and never know what they’ll run in to on a door knock.

“High transient activity throughout the county, there’s always a chance that transients are inside, especially if it’s open and accessible,” Colston said.