Police SUV’s Making Some Officers Sick – Ford Issues Response
90 new police cruisers are on the streets of Shreveport. The city has spent more than $3.5 million dollars on the new Ford SUV's.
But police agencies across the country are having trouble with these SUV's. It seems exhaust fumes have been leaking into the cabin of the cars. In Austin, Texas, the Department is suspending the use of more than 400 of the vehicles. This move comes after several officers have suffered from carbon monoxide exposure.
“Unfortunately the number and the severity of the cases has continued to grow,” said Interim City Manager Elaine Hart. “I’ve made the decision that we need to remove these vehicles from service immediately.”
Austin leaders say more than 70 officers have filed workers comp claims because of this problem.
“Twenty of those officers had a measurable level of carbon monoxide in their system when tested, and three of those are currently on a no-duty status due to their medical condition and treatment,” said Interim Police Chief Brian Manley of the Austin Police Department tells Fox News.
"We are going to remove the Ford Explorer from the city's fleet, which comprises a large majority part of the APD patrol fleet," Chief Brian Manley said.
Austin is not the first city with this problem. A police officer in Newport Beach, California, crashed his police SUV into a tree after blacking out behind the wheel.
The feds are now getting involved in the act. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration will now be checking out more than 1.3 million Explorers from 2011-2017 model years.
KEEL News has reached out to the Police Chief and the Mayor to find out if we have had any problems with the Ford Interceptor SUV's, but have not heard back from them yet.
Ford Motor Company sent this message to KEEL Tuesday morning:
"Safety is our top priority. We have not found elevated levels of carbon monoxide in regular Ford Explorers. To address police customers who drive modified vehicles in unique ways, we are covering the costs of specific repairs in every Police Interceptor Utility that may have carbon monoxide concerns.”
The release from Ford also says "While there have been reports of exhaust odors in some regular Explorers, those instances are unrelated to reports of carbon monoxide described by some police departments. If a vehicle has such an odor, customers should bring it to a Ford dealer to address that issue.
Ford has also release an action plan promising to do these things:
- Check and seal off the rear of the vehicle where exhaust can enter
- Provide a new air conditioning calibration that brings in more fresh air during heavy acceleration typical of police driving
- Check for engine codes that could indicate a damaged exhaust manifold.
Ford will continue investigating all reports from its police customers, including the exhaust manifold issue referenced by National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
If a customer believes their vehicle may be experiencing an issue, they should bring it to a Ford dealer, who is equipped to assess the vehicle and address the problem. Customers also can call a dedicated hotline at 888-260-5575.