Hidalgo County’s outdated communication technology needs overhaul
March 25, 2019 10:31 PM
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.- Situated in New Mexico's Bootheel, Hidalgo County, has been thrust into the national spotlight because of its proximity to the border and the influx of migrants crossing into the U.S.
The area consists of remote stretches of land with limited cell phone reception and outdated communication infrastructure.
While law enforcement in Hidalgo County is already stretched thin, there is a crucial public safety concern looming
“There’s a huge communication gap,” said Hidalgo County Manager Tisha Green.
Within the past month, the 911 system in the most rural parts of the county failed because of aging equipment.
Within 24-hours of being notified, the state quickly stepped in to replace radio repeater equipment, which relays calls through remote sections of the county.
However, local and state officials agree – Hidalgo County needs an overhaul of its communication technology.
“Their 911 system was down because that repeater system is so antiquated and old – that’s one of the things we’re looking to do is improve their infrastructure so we don’t have these problems in the future,” said Jackie White, the cabinet secretary for New Mexico’s Homeland Security Department.
White says a fix is currently in the works.
“It’s public safety. It’s not just for our public officials such as police, fire and law enforcement – but it’s important for the citizens. They have to be able to call 911 and get a response,” said White. “They have to be able to call and get a response if there’s an issue.”
State lawmakers have already set aside $3.1 million to help improve communication technology specifically in Hidalgo County. The governor is expected to sign the bill that funds those efforts.
Updated: March 25, 2019 10:31 PM
Created: March 25, 2019 09:41 PM
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