COUNTY OFFERS TOLL-FREE NUMBER TO CENTRAL SWITCHBOARD, IMPROVES ACCESS TO ANIMAL CONTROL HOTLINE

COUNTY OFFERS TOLL-FREE NUMBER TO CENTRAL SWITCHBOARD, IMPROVES ACCESS TO ANIMAL CONTROL HOTLINE

Two major changes related to telephone access to the county have been implemented. Residents of Doña Ana County in outlying areas will be able to call toll-free to the central switchboard for county government in Las Cruces. And residents who call the Animal Control hotline will be connected to a new system that will allow after-hours complaints to be recorded on a digital mail system.

The new toll-free number to the central county switchboard is 1-877-827-7200. District 2 County Commissioner Eduardo ‘Lalo’ Medina said the toll-free service will be “a tremendous help” to residents in several ways.

“First,” Medina said, “it allows people who don’t live in Las Cruces, but who have a service problem or a concern, to call in and get their call routed to the proper department. Second, it allows county staff who are traveling to call in on the toll-free number and save the county money on collect and long-distance charges. I’ve been advocating this improvement for a long time, and I’m proud to announce that it’s been implemented.”

Testing of the number took place Friday morning, June 25, with calls being successfully routed to the public information officer’s office from within the county, from elsewhere in New Mexico and from as far away as Chicago.

“In each case,” said Public Information Officer Jess Williams, “the callers helping us with the testing were able to get through in six rings or less and to be immediately connected to my office with no problem whatsoever.”

Medina said he will ask the full commission to authorize an advertising campaign aimed at letting residents in all parts of the county know that the number is up and working.

On the matter of animal control, County Transportation Director George Avalos, whose office oversees animal control operations, said that even though the hotline is normally staffed 15 hours each day, the volume of calls justified an improvement to the system.

The animal control number remains the same: (505) 382-3825, although during normal business hours, residents in outlying areas can call the toll-free number and be connected to the animal control system.

“We’re coming up on the time of year when animal control gets really busy,” Avalos said. “I requested and received from the Board of County Commissioners funding to update both the phone network and the dispatch service, and I’m hopeful these improvements will help get animal control officers into the field faster to deal with citizen complaints.”

For more information about either the toll-free number or the changes to the animal control switchboard, call Williams at 647-7229 if you are in the greater Las Cruces area. Otherwise, dial 1-877-827-7200 to be connected to his office.