Weak Cell Service near Border Interrupting Emergency Calls

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RIO GRANDE CITY – The Rio Grande City Police Department assistant police chief said his department tries to make sure there’s a backup system to work around bad cellphone connections. He recommends people in the community do the same.

Assistant police chief Jose Solis said his department has dealt with failed calls near the border.

“Sometimes you get disruption in the antennas on the cellphone, so we’ll have Telcell or Move Star antenna,” he said.

Solis said cell phones connect to the closest nearby tower. So if someone has a provider that prevents international calls, the call will not go through.

“People dial 911 and whatever antennas closest to them, it’ll hit there,” Solis said.

He said that includes international cellphone towers.

“Probably the Mexican cellphone tower was closer to you than the U.S. one, so it depends on what service you have,” he said.

Solis recommends people check with their provider for specifics on their signal connection.

He added taking preventative measures before heading to international waters could make a difference in an emergency situation.

“We know down here and throughout the whole Valley there’s a lot of people that love going fishing and hunting. They go out towards the river banks. Let your family members know, let somebody know where you’re headed to,” Solis said.

He added set a time limit and make sure to check in with family and instruct them if they lose contact, call authorities.

Solis said having an area to pinpoint gives his department a location to start their investigation in case someone has an emergency.

He said his department relies heavily on road signals to communicate with one another. It ensures his men will be able to get in touch with them even if they’re on boundary lines. 


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