Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Department in New Mexico received a disturbing call from a mother on July 2, 2017. The mother claimed that she was with her child was at home and hostage at the gunpoint. She tries to call to 911 but failed to do. The Sheriff’s department claimed that she may tied to call 911 from the Amazon Alexa instead on Amazon Echo.
According to the report, Felicia Romero from the sheriff’s department’s public information officer said:
“In the recording, you can hear her screaming, ‘Alexa, call 911,” The county sheriff, Manuel Gonzales III, commended Alexa for helping out the victim in the moment of absolute need. “This amazing technology definitely helped save a mother and her child from a very violent situation.”
However, the truth about the Amazon Alexa on Echo is unable to call 911. Amazon accepted that the Alexa is not capable to call 911 in any emergency situation. However, the sheriff’s department in spite of that claimed the Alexa capabilities to work in emergency situations.
In this May, Amazon rolled out the calling feature, but the calling feature works only between the Amazon Alexa and Echo. That means the Alexa is not equipped with the feature to call the police in any emergency.
However, Alexa helps you to set alarm, play music for you, works as a timer, able to control the home lighting. The Alexa calling feature has IFTTT commands that can call to you, unfortunately these calls cannot be delivered to any other number. Highlighting on the case, an Amazon spokeswoman said in an email as:
The receiving end would also need to have an Echo device or the Alexa app connected to Wi-Fi or mobile data, and they would need to have Alexa calling/messaging set up,”
Felicia Romero from the Sheriff’s department said:
“All we can confirm is that 911 was called, we have the recording, the victim stated that’s what happened. We don’t know what device it came from. I don’t know how it did it.”
The department says the Alexa Echo was connected to the mother home phone, but the company refuses the Romero statement as the Echo cannot connect to the third party. As one of the Amazon official said in a statement as:
”The Alexa calling and messaging service is not able to connect to third-party calling services or landlines to make a 911 call.”