Balcones Heights swears in new police, fire chiefs

City turning page on difficult chapter, looking forward to brighter future

BALCONES HEIGHTS, Texas – The city of Balcones Heights turned the page on a difficult chapter in the city's history Thursday when city leaders swore in a new police chief.

Darrell Volz spent 35 years with the San Antonio Police Department before retiring last June. He's taking over the reins after a difficult time for the Balcones Heights Police Department.

Last May, Balcones Heights Officer Julian Pesina was murdered by members of the Mexican Mafia, a gang he reportedly had ties to.

Pesina's death led to the firing of former Chief Henry Dominguez, who failed to take action when alerted to Pesina's alleged gang affiliations.

Volz said he's pleased with the direction the agency is headed.

"It's really a good group of officers; they're dedicated employees. I think maybe they just didn't have the guidance they needed there for a while, but we're working together," Volz said.

Veteran firefighter Brock Ward was also sworn in Thursday as the new fire chief.

He's been with the department for 36 years and had served as the interim chief since last summer.

Ward said he's been building stronger ties with the police department after the tensions brought on by last year's tragic events.

"There was a good rapport between the firefighters and the policemen, always has been," Ward said. "There might have been some tension at the upper levels but that's changed and now things are going forward and it's a very good time to be here."

Mayor Suzanne De Leon said she feels like she finally has the right team in place to move the city beyond its past problems.

"I couldn't be happier with the choice we've made," De Leon said. "We're just moving forward, we're going to be aggressive and we have so many wonderful things happening in the city right now, so I'm just really excited about all the changes being made."

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