Officials say bad cell, wireless service by Sprint is putting San Diego officers in jeopardy

SAN DIEGO - Members of the San Diego City Council are furious because they say city police officers have to deal with unreliable cell phone service reception, which puts their lives in jeopardy.

10News learned that bad cell and wireless service through Sprint is leaving many police officers without communication.

Officers at the Central Division told 10News they run into dead zones in parts of their neighborhood. They say the bad service -- especially in areas known as dead zones --  puts them in compromising positions.

Council woman Marti Emerald says the situation is unacceptable.

"They aren't able to use their on board computers, to trace id's or run plates, or report what's going on, they're basically cut off from the rest of the department and that's real dangerous for a police officers, it could be a hazard for the public as well and we need those services up," said Emerald.

In the field, whether it's computers or cell phones, officers rely on their network provider to have reliable coverage.

10News reporter Maria Arcega-Dunn found one area near the Central Division building that got full bars. But there's a dead zone, just a few blocks down.  For a police officer, the difference could mean life and death.

"Something bad is going to happen cause they're not going to get the call," said one San Diego resident. "Scary, yeah, it is."

Safety for law enforcement is high on officials' minds. Just two weeks ago, a San Diego police officer was shot in City Heights.

Sprint is performing upgrades and can't predict when or where the outages will occur or how long they'll last, according to Kathleen Dunleavy, a spokeswoman for the company.

In a statement, the Sprint says:

"Sprint’s investment in upgrading our network infrastructure has required a team of dedicated engineers and technicians to install new, modern 3G and 4G LTE equipment. As a result of that process, there have been some regrettable service interruptions in limited areas and for short periods of time. With regards to San Diego, we have taken action already and have an active and aggressive plan underway to fix the issues as soon as possible."

The city is currently on a month to month plan with the company and will vote on whether to continue their contract with Sprint at the next city council meeting.

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