Olathe, Kan. — In recognition of the valuable and dangerous work animal control officers across the country carry out each day, the ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) today announced a $100,000 grant to the National Animal Control Association (NACA) to help protect its officers. The funds will be used to support the “Officer Roy Marcum Ballistic Vest Grant Program,” which provides ballistic vests to animal control officers performing field duties for municipal/county/non-profit animal care and control agencies. This grant announcement coincides with the one-year anniversary of the death of Sacramento County Animal Care and Regulation Officer Roy Curtis Marcum, who was tragically killed in the line of duty.
“NACA has long recognized that animal control officers encounter dangerous individuals and criminals with the same or greater frequency than other law enforcement officers,” said George W. Harding, IV, Executive Director of NACA. “No longer the ‘dog catchers’ of yesterday, today’s ACOs are often charged with investigating felony crimes and making arrests. They can be required to enter private property and seize animals, over the sometimes angry and violent objections of owners. The tragedy that befell Officer Marcum is one that could happen to any officer in the line of duty, and they deserve to be protected.”
“We often don’t hear about the dangers our animal control agents face on a daily basis,” added Jodi Lytle Buckman, Senior Director of Community Initiatives at the ASPCA. “But these agents should be afforded the same level of safety as other public servants charged with protecting us. Officer Marcum’s story is a sober reminder that threats lie behind every door – it’s our hope this grant to the NACA will keep more animal control officers out of harm’s way while serving the animals in their communities.”
Officer Marcum’s story serves as the inspiration for this grant program, as well as the proposed “Roy Curtis Marcum” Bill in California which, if passed, would ensure that California Animal Control Officers are adequately trained with the skills they need to conduct investigations into animal-related crimes.
Local organizations that wish to apply for assistance through NACA’s “Officer Roy Marcum Ballistic Vest Grant Program” must meet the following requirements:
- Agree to wear the vest while on duty, whether or not the agency requires it;
- Agree to report back to NACA the number of field calls handled and number of the days that the vest was worn on duty;
- Be a municipal/county/non-profit animal care and control agency; and
- Have a replacement plan in place when the vest reaches its expiration date.
Up to $4,000 in grant funding is available to each applying organization. To learn more about this grant opportunity, or to obtain a grant application form visit www.nacanet.org.
On November 28, 2012, Officer Marcum, 45, visited a Galt, Calif. foreclosed home -- believed to be unoccupied -- to tend to animals left behind by an evicted resident. When Officer Marcum and bank officials approached the home, Marcum was killed by a shotgun blast through the front door. Joseph Corey was arrested and remains in the custody of the Sacramento Sheriff while awaiting a January 16, 2014 trial date. Last May, the ASPCA provided 15 bullet proof vests for Marcum’s animal control colleagues in Sacramento County.
NACA’s Memorial Wall and Gardens in Olathe, Kan., unveiled in 2011, displays the names of animal control officers who have died in the line of duty. Officer Marcum’s name has been submitted for inclusion and will be added in the near future.