By HEATHER CATHLEEN COX
“Rio Hondo is blooming at this time,” said Rio Hondo Mayor Gus Olivares of recent changes being implemented throughout the community by William Bilokury, the new Public Safety Director in charge of the Rio Hondo Fire Department and Rio Hondo Police Department.
One area in which Bilokury is making immediate plans to update includes police vehicles. “We are updating cars – putting new logos on them,” he said.
“We are changing our police logos,” said Olivares, “and we ended up purchasing a new (police) vehicle. We’re also looking at our budget for additional staffing.”
Among other improvements being implemented in both departments, RHPD has acquired new workstations and new computers. Bilokury said, “We have a new server, so we can do more (with) technology, keeping proper records and maintenance …. Better technology means more (inner-office) operability, better communication with (the) public, FBI and DPS.”
“We are excited about moving forward,” said Olivares on behalf of the City of Rio Hondo. “We are also excited to have someone with … expertise, who can move (programs) … in the right direction.”
Bilokury is still hard at work “reconfiguring the department,” and one effort which he said will remain a work in progress is the development of a revised Standard Operating Procedures Manual. “I’m in the process of developing it,” he said, “That’s a big undertaking. I’m about halfway through that.”
Regarding the fire department, both Bilokury and Olivares have reached out to the public, asking for volunteers to step forward. Olivares said, “We actually encourage the people in Rio Hondo, anyone interested in volunteering (for the fire department) and doing a good deed for the City, to volunteer to do (their) part.”
Furthermore, Bilokury said, “I would like to get it out that we are needing help from the public, both (volunteer) firefighters and financial help. Anyone willing to donate time, equipment or funds – I’m reaching out for.”
Bilokury explained that he is currently researching state and federal grants for both RHFD and RHBD, saying he has several trucks in need of repairs. “Those trucks are in need of service and work. That’s probably one of my biggest endeavors right now.”
“Both the fire and police departments have had no structure,” Bilokury said. “They haven’t had the proper tools or leadership to do their job in several years. Rebuilding the infrastructure is an ongoing process.”
To that end, Olivares added that the City is “working as a team with him, trying to bring our police department and fire department up to better standards. He has our full support. These changes are better for our community.”
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