NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – For several years Rio Communities in Valencia County paid the sheriff’s department to patrol their small city, but starting next month they’ll officially have a police department of their own.

Felix Nunez is the first police chief for the Rio Communities Police Department. Nunez has been in law enforcement for 31 years; for the past eight years he’s served as the chief of the Jemez Springs Police Department.

Although he doesn’t start until September 5th, he’s already getting to know his new community. “I’m very excited, I think when you have such an opportunity especially with a brand new police department you want to get as much as you can of community input,” said Nunez.

Nunez said one of the biggest concerns he’s heard is a lack of traffic enforcement and he plans to change that. “You know we’re going to be getting on the streets, we’re going to be writing citations for speeders and for people not obeying the laws we’re going to hit that right away,” said Nunez.

He also plans to get ideas from nearby law enforcement agencies about what is and isn’t working in their communities. On his first day Nunez will hire a police officer to join the department.