Austin pulls Ford Explorers from police fleet after cops get sick from carbon monoxide

Posted July 28

The city of Austin, Texas, is pulling all 446 Ford Explorers from its police fleet after detecting potentially dangerous levels of carbon monoxide in the vehicles.

"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.

The Austin Police Department has experienced carbon monoxide issues over the past five months, he said. In that time, 62 workers' comp reports have been filed by officers for exposure to carbon monoxide. And 20 of those officers had a measurable level of carbon monoxide in their system when they were tested, Manley said. Three of them have not returned to work.

So far, the APD has pulled 69 Explorers and Utility Interceptors, a modified version of the Explorer, from service. Another 4 were removed from other departments.

Officials expect to have all of these SUVs switched out with other vehicles by Monday evening. The city will use cars from other departments like the Highway Response Team to make up the difference. Manley added that the overall number of officers on duty won't change.

They'll be stored until the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and Ford conclude an investigation into what's wrong with the cars -- and figure out a solution.

"Safety is our top priority," Ford said in a statement. "A dedicated Ford team is working with police customers, police equipment installers, Police Advisory Board members and NHTSA to investigate reported issues and solve them. Customers with concerns about Explorers and Police Interceptor Utilities can call our dedicated hotline or visit their local Ford dealership."


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