Hospital workers, sheriff's deputies frustrated by dropped calls

HILLSBORO, Ore. - Sergeant Dave Thompson talks with his Washington County sheriff's deputies every day on his cellphone.

"They use their cellphones every day for gathering information and investigating crimes," he said. "They are contacting complainants. Sometimes they're contacting suspects."

But Thompson says they're getting more dropped calls from their current Sprint service. That means when they call a suspect or try to reach someone barricaded inside a house they have no guarantee they'll maintain their phone connection.

"We'd like them to stay on the line, obviously," said Thompson. "If the call dropped, it would be that 'are they going to pick up again?'"

The situation is worse at Tuality Hospital in Hillsboro. The hospital also uses Sprint, and says as many as half of their calls are dropped. A hospital spokesperson said sometimes voice mails arrive hours late.

A Sprint spokeswoman said they are expanding their coverage in the area, which should help the sheriff's deputies. She said the Tuality Hospital issue is different. The hospital has a special system. Sprint sent new equipment to fix it.

The Washington County Sheriff's Office is looking into other cellphone service carriers, Thompson says.

"We're not wasting the time for deputies, we're not wasting time for citizens," said Thompson. "Just more efficient use of our time and better use of taxpayer dollars."