Letter to the editor: Animal control officers need protective vests

On Nov. 28, Animal Control Officer Roy Marcum was shot and killed in the line of duty at a Galt, Calif., home that was supposed to be vacant due to a foreclosure and eviction the day prior.

Having lived in Galt for many years, this story caught my attention.

The first thought that came to mind, yet again, is why aren't we providing our animal control officers with bulletproof vests?

Many newspaper commenters throughout the region asked that question and also took it one step further to inquire about firearms. ACOs are rarely members of the sworn police force and that is why they don't carry guns. Nothing precludes the city from providing them with vests.

However, as the incident with Officer Marcum demonstrated, what is reported and dispatched is not always the situation. The homeowner had told the sheriff the day before that he had no place to take his six dogs at the time and Officer Marcum was there simply to feed and check on them until the owner could make arrangements.

This wasn't a "hostile" call. He was standing on the front porch of what was supposed to be a vacant house and a shotgun blast came through the front door.

A bulletproof vest probably would not have been much help in this case but it gives us the opportunity to open a dialogue with our city leaders.

I have never priced a bulletproof vest. I do know that you can't put a price on the empty chair of a husband, father, mother, aunt, etc., at the dinner table.

Just because it hasn't happened here doesn't mean that it can't.

It is time the cities of Clovis and Portales find the money to offer this basic safety equipment for our ACOs.

Jonathan La Vine


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