Local law enforcement addressing carbon monoxide fears

Elevated levels of carbon monoxide was found in Ford Explorers in Texas patrol vehicles.

MERIDIAN - The Austin Police Department in Texas is getting ready to park all of its nearly 400 Ford Explorer police cruisers due to carbon monoxide fears.

There are several Ford Explorers in our local law enforcement fleet as well. KTVB wanted to find out will they do the same? We learned officers here are protecting themselves.

The problem started in Austin back in February when exhaust fumes started getting into the passenger compartment.

Since then, 62 officers have filed complaints about carbon monoxide exposure, and 20 of those officers had elevated levels of carbon monoxide in their systems.

We checked with local law enforcement agencies to find out if their Ford Explorers are giving them similar problems.

The good news is -- no one has reported an issue.

But that's not stopping them from taking precautions, just in case, especially since they know it can happen.

The Meridian Police Department has already installed carbon monoxide detectors inside their vehicles.

"We want to make sure our officers are safe, so whether it's a bulletproof vest or any other type of safety equipment, we want to make sure it's not faulty,” said Deputy Chief Tracy Basterrechea. “And we're taking all the steps we can to make sure we're doing our job as an agency to take care of our individual officers.

Carbon monoxide detectors are installed in all Meridian’s Explorers to not only protect officers, but the K-9's as well.

The Boise Police Department has ordered carbon monoxide detectors, and a spokesperson for the Idaho State Police says they are monitoring the situation. Nampa Police is currently phasing out the Explorers, but is also monitoring any possible issues.

Ford Motor Company says the problem is not with their cars but with modifications made to the Explorers after they are purchased. However, the automaker is continuing its investigation.

In Austin, the Explorers make up 61 percent of its fleet. The department has been able to replace about half of them for now and many of the officers will now ride in pairs.

© 2017 KTVB-TV


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