Area law enforcement agencies using the Ford Interceptor SUV Tuesday reported few issues with Carbon Monoxide leaks similar to ones noted recently in several police departments around the country.
The reported leaks are prompting concerns in Newport Beach and Austin, Texas, where 37 of the SUVs have been pulled from service, according to CNN Money. The Austin department has also hardwired Carbon Monoxide detectors into similar vehicles still on the road.
An Austin officer is suing Ford after he alleged that he was poisoned by fumes while driving the vehicle and the city reported that the detectors signaled unsafe levels of Carbon Monoxide at least six times. Police in Newport Beach say an officer passed out from fumes in 2015, swerved across two lanes and nearly crashed into oncoming traffic before slamming into a tree.
The National Highway Traffic Highway Safety Administration said that it is investigating police complaints as well as 150 similar issues involving civilian owners of similar Ford Explorers.
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Fresno County Sheriff’s spokesman Tony Botti said the agency is noting no problems with its fleet of 2016 and 2017 Fords. However, “we did recognize an issue with some 2014 and 2015 models. The Power Transfer Unit wasn’t functioning properly and was putting out a propane-like smell. We quickly recognized it and Ford repaired the impacted vehicles.”
Botti said no deputies have reported feeling sick after driving the Fords, but also noted, “our policy is not to drill into the floorboard of any patrol cars (modifying) them with law enforcement equipment. This is reduce the chance of exhaust seeping into the cabin.”
Lt. Bill Ward of the Madera County Sheriff’s Office said:
“Our central garage is aware and we are monitoring. So far, none of our SUVs seem to be affected.”
The California Highway Patrol several years purchased the Ford SUVs, but has now opted to shift to Dodge Chargers. The agency denies widespread problem with the Ford SUVs, and said “relatively few” complaints have been received from officers in the field.
“Carbon Monoxide hazards exist with every fossil fuel powered motor vehicle,” said Janelle Fallan Dunham. “Like all vehicles, occasionally complaints arise (the CHP) takes then seriously.”