The 066 Emergency Number Keeps Failing; a State Secretary Denied the Problem

Secretarios de Seguridad Álvar Cabeza de Vaca y Ricardo Benavides

Secretary of Public Safety Ricardo Benavides

By Jesús Aguado

Users with cellphone numbers provided by Iusacell, Unefón, Movistar, and Nextel cannot access the 066 emergency system in San Miguel de Allende.

In December 2012, when the State Secretary of Public Safety, Álvar Cabeza de Vaca, announced the Escudo Program, one of the stated goals was to attend to the general public efficiently, quickly, and with better results through the calls to the 066 emergency system. On April 15, 2014 the program was launched. It also included surveillance cameras as well as new equipment for local emergency call centers, including the one in San Miguel. At that time, the calls to the system started failing.

Atención first referenced the problem on December 17, 2014, when a car was accidently set on fire at Fraccionamiento los Santos. When that happened, neighbors (with Movistar and Nextel phones) tried to call the emergency number, but their call was not taken until five minutes later—and the call had been routed to Dolores. The car was totally burned by the time the firemen arrived.

In the archives of Atención there are official documents stating that the problem started in April 2014. There is a document that Felipe Cohen (as director of the Civil Protection Department from the 2009-2014 administration) issued to Manuel de Jesús Villarreal, the director of the CS4 in Guanajuato. The document observes that they have proof that the calls made from telephones with service provided by Nextel, Iusacell, Movistar, Unefon, and Cablevisión are taken in Querétaro, Dolores, and also in Mexico State. In the document, the then director requests a solution to the failure. The same month, the calls from Cablevision phones became possible, but not from the other services.

Atención knew in advance that Álvar Cabeza de Vaca would visit the city, so we made calls to the 066 emergency system from a Iusacel and a Nextel phone, and the calls were taken in Dolores. During the visit of Cabeza de Vaca, Atención asked him about the failure, and although he said that they fixed some problems in San Francisco del Rincón, Purísima del Rincón, Tarimoro, and Uriangato, he did not have notices of failures in the system in this city. Atención insisted and he said, “As secretary, I do not know anything about a problem in San Miguel and there is a straight coordination between the C5i and the local emergency centrals. My answer remains as no.”

Ricardo Benavides, local Secretary of Public Safety, commented that they are already checking the system and remarked that if they find a problem they will try to fix it with help from the Secretariat of Communications and Transportation.

 

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