FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – The Austin Police Department believes its own vehicles, which are the same models the Fort Worth Police Department uses, are making officers sick.
Five Austin police officers were sent to the emergency room with dizziness, headaches and nausea. In June, an officer in Austin almost crashed after he says he suffered from carbon monoxide poisoning.
After that incident, the City of Austin installed carbon monoxide detectors in its police vehicles.
In the Metroplex, many police departments use Ford Explorers as police cruisers including the Fort Worth Police Department, which recently bought carbon monoxide detectors.
“We currently haven’t had any issues with any reports of carbon monoxide inside any of our vehicles being reported, but we did want to get these detectors just to be proactive,” said Officer Brad Perez.
A CBS News investigation revealed there were 771 complaints, involving the 2011 to 2017 model year Ford Explorers. That number also included SUVs driven by civilians.
Federal regulators are now investigating if the issue in Austin is related to a potential safety defect. Ford has known about the situation since at least 2012.
In a deposition, a company representative said it appears to be a design issue, that may allow exhaust which contains carbon monoxide to seep in, likely through unsealed seams in the rear of the SUV.