City bolsters safety at McAllen parks and trails

McALLEN — In their efforts to prioritize the safety of its residents the McAllen Parks and Recreation and Information Technology departments in collaboration with TelePro installed a set of 911 call boxes along the Bentsen Hike and Bike trail.

The city held a ribbon cutting ceremony Wednesday morning to inaugurate its new additions to the trail.

“Quality of life is always a priority for the city, for our department and part of that is the safety of our residents using our hike and bike trails,” said Denny Meline, parks and recreation director of McAllen.

An emergency call box is posted along the Bentsen Hike and Bike Trial route along Bentsen Road on Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2023, in McAllen. (Joel Martinez | [email protected])

According to Meline, the $14,268 project is a solar powered cellular device that will begin to flash a blue light and call the McAllen Police Department when activated.

“If there is a need to utilize these call boxes there is a red push button,” Meline explained, adding that the boxes also have an intercom and camera feature for additional security.

Each of the call boxes has its own physical address that will be sent to police when activated.

Although a new addition to the Bensten trail, it is not the first set of call boxes in McAllen. In fact, the city has more than 20 call boxes throughout its parks and trials

The first call boxes were established in 2015 at the 2nd Street hike and bike trail with two more later placed at the Bicentennial hike and bike trail in 2017.

“Not only do we have the call boxes on all three trails but we also have them at some of our parks,” Meline said.

In total there are 24 call boxes throughout the city’s recreational areas.