GALVESTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Several Galveston
police vehicles have been pulled out of rotation after some officers
raised concerns about possible carbon monoxide poisoning.
concerns come as the U.S. government's auto safety agency has expanded
an investigation into complaints of exhaust fumes inside Ford Explorer
SUVs. The probe covers 1.3 million Explorers from the 2011 to 2017 model
Many of the complaints came from police departments using the Police Interceptor version of the Explorer in fleets.
Joshua Schirard with the Galveston Police Department said 27 police
Ford Explorers in their fleet are out of service until they can be
checked for potential carbon monoxide leaks.
"A lot of it is due
to some of the outfitting that is done to Police Interceptor vehicles,"
Schirard said Wednesday. "A lot of new holes - drill holes - for power
cables and the like create new entrances and possible avenues for carbon
monoxide gas to get in the cabin."
Police in Austin have pulled SUVs from their fleet over safety concerns
said one officer reported feeling lightheaded over the weekend, but
medical tests showed that officer did not have elevated levels of carbon
monoxide in his system.
Nevertheless, the department isn't taking any chances. The 27 vehicles are going back to Ford for testing.
going to check all the seals and weather stripping, specifically the
back hatch door, to ensure no exhaust is getting in through the door.
They're also going to make a few electronic adjustments to the air
conditioning to ensure that during periods of heavy acceleration, the AC
is pulling in fresh, clean air and not any air that could contain
exhaust," Schirard said.
According to a letter Ford sent out to
all of its dealers in the U.S., "Ford's investigation into this issue is
ongoing. However, the company has discovered holes and unsealed spaces
in the back of some Police Interceptor Utilities that had police
equipment installed after leaving Ford's factory."
Ford will be paying for the testing and any repairs needed. He said in
the meantime, some officers will be sharing vehicles with colleagues
working opposite shifts so that patrols are not affected.