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Officers report no problems with patrol vehicles

Officers report no problems with patrol vehicles

July 14th, 2017 by Jenny Gray in Local News

While police in Austin, Texas, have sidelined their fleet of 37 Ford Explorers, local law enforcement officers said they are still driving theirs without problems.

"We'll certainly check them out," Fulton Police Chief Steve Myers said Thursday. "We have five of them, and another on order that's coming in August."

He said he would look at getting carbon monoxide detectors to carry in the SUVs.

In the past week, five Austin officers were treated for carbon monoxide exposure after driving Ford Explorers, according to a Tuesday report by the Associated Press. A sixth officer from that department also showed symptoms but needed no treatment, the report said. Assistant Police Chief Troy Gay told the AP some of the officers experienced dizziness, headaches and nausea.

Callaway County Sheriff Clay Chism said while his department has 14 police-model Ford Explorers, no problems have thus far been reported by their drivers.

"We have not had any issues nor have been apprised of any by Fulton Ford, whom services our vehicles regularly," Chism said. "None of the deputies have voiced any concern."

He said he hasn't heard of any issues from other local law enforcement agencies.

In July 2016, the Associated Press published a report stating the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration received 154 complaints from owners who said they smelled exhaust gas inside Ford Explorers from model years 2011-15. Ford sold more than 950,000 Ford Explorers during that time period.

According to the NHTSA, exhaust was smelled when the SUVs were in full throttle and also when air-conditioning units were in recirculation mode, the AP reported.

Footage shown Thursday by CBS News included several accidents involving Ford Explorers driven by police officers.

The CBS News report also stated NHTSA is in contact with the Austin police department and "is actively investigating" to determine if the issue is related to a potential safety defect.

Fulton Ford officials did not immediately comment.