NewsLocal NewsIn Your NeighborhoodBell CountyBelton


16 people saved by Belton PD program in last decade; How to be on the list to receive help

Volunteer Fernando De Leon making a call to check in on someone.
Posted at 7:27 PM, Nov 28, 2023
and last updated 2023-11-28 20:27:02-05

BELTON, Texas — The Belton Police Department's R-U-OK program started in April 2013, after police discovered that local senior citizens living alone needed someone to check on them.

Since then, 16 lives have been saved.

The program works through a partnership with local volunteers and Belton police.

Fernando De Leon is one of the R-U-OK volunteers making a difference.

He has a list of people he calls on a regular basis and builds a relationship with them.

“I have mostly people that speak Spanish, so I call them in Spanish," De Leon said.

He’s a 95-year-old retired doctor who just wants to help people — he’s not only answering calls, but he's also receiving them.

De Leon is one of the 80 people that are a part of the R-U-OK program, and just like all of them, he too lives alone.

“That’s tough, that’s tough — it’s not very easy," De Leon says about living by himself.

Here’s how the program works — volunteers will call you at least once a week, if not more, to see how you’re doing.

If you don’t answer, officers will come by your home to make sure you’re okay.

De Leon encourages people to sign up for the program, even if you have a loved one who checks in on you.

He says you never know when that loved one may not be around to help you.

Other law enforcement agencies are taking notice of the success happening in Belton.

“It is very unique, but the beautiful thing about it, is there have been other agencies that have come in and actually tried to duplicate it," said the City of Belton's Deputy Police Chief Larry Berg about the program.

"They’ve watched us make the phone calls, they take it back to their community. Most recently was Bryan, reached out, came in and was trying to get it off the ground.”

Deputy Chief Berg says their participation numbers change — he says even though they have 80 people now, at times, they have had almost double that.

He says senior citizens are the bulk of the participants, but he encourages other people who live alone or are disabled to call and see how the program could help.

Anyone can call the Belton Police Department's non-emergency number by dialing, 254-933-5840 and asking for the volunteer services coordinator.