Smart Home Device Autodials Police To Help End Alleged Domestic Assault

Most people do not think of a smart speaker being a potentially life saving gadget, but with the ability to dial up the police in emergencies, there is the potential for such items to serve as much more than just an entertainment gadget that can relay the weather and fire up playlists. That is the case for a woman and her daughter who were house-sitting in Tejaras, New Mexico last week.

While house-sitting, an argument broke out between the woman and her boyfriend, Eduardo Barros, which turned physical, according to Deputy Felicia Romero, a spokesperson for the Bernalilo County Sheriff Department. The argument escalated to where Barros allegedly brandished a gun and threatened to kill his girlfriend. During the altercation, Barros asked his girlfriend, "Did you call the sheriffs?"

Google Home
Google Home is one of several smart speakers that can make phone calls

A smart speaker that was hooked up to a surround sound system in the home was within earshot and picked up on the question, which it interpreted as a voice command to dial 9-1-1, according to Romero. After doing so, local deputies arrived, along with a crisis negotiation team and even a SWAT team. They were successful in removing the woman and her daughter from the home.

"The unexpected use of this new technology to contact emergency services has possibly helped save a life. This amazing technology definitely helped save a mother and her child from a very violent situation," Bernalillo County Sheriff Manuel Gonzales III told ABC News.

It is not clear what make and model of smart speaker served as the unlikely hero in all of this. There are several on the market that are capable of making phone calls, including Amazon's Echo family and Google's Home speaker.

This could have gone much worse for the mother, who sustained injuries from the alteration but was not taken to a hospital, and her daughter who was physically unharmed from the ordeal. As for Barros, he has been charged with possession of a firearm or destructive device by a felon, aggravated battery, aggravated assault, and false imprisonment.