Local law enforcement monitoring Ford Explorers for carbon monoxide

Local agencies are keeping watch to see if their Ford Explorers pose a carbon monoxide threat.

Ford could be on the brink of issuing a huge recall. It has to do with the Ford Explorer, specifically the ones used by law enforcement from model years 2011 to 2017.

Some agencies report officers passing out behind the wheel, even crashing, because of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Many law enforcement agencies in the Bay area use these cars, and they’re monitoring them closely. The Pinellas County Sheriff's Office has six Ford Explorers. In Hillsborough, the Sheriff’s Office has eight.

Sarasota police do not have any in their marked fleet.

The Polk County Sheriff’s Office has 13 Explorers on the road right now. Sheriff Grady Judd, who drives one himself, said there hasn’t been any signs of an issue. He said they put a carbon monoxide meter in one of the vehicles, and it did not have elevated levels.

“If there were even a hint of an issue, obviously we would take the car out of service,” Judd explained.

Several other departments in Polk also have Explorers. So far, there haven’t been any issues. That’s not the case in other parts of the country.

Earlier this year, a Louisiana police officer crashed his cruiser after passing out from carbon monoxide poisoning.

In Austin, Texas, the department pulled 400 Explorers after 18 officers were found to have carbon monoxide in their blood.

In Massachusetts, a police officer who rear-ended another car in his Explorer tested positive for the gas.

Mechanics in Montgomery County, Maryland, are finding cracked manifolds in Explorers used by police, which could allow carbon monoxide to get into the vehicle. They believe it is a manufacturer’s defect.

However, Ford hasn't taken the blame, saying the issue could be caused when police departments modify the SUVs after they buy them, such as adding lights and sirens.

In a statement, Ford said drivers of non-police Explorers have no reason to worry.

You should still be careful, Judd said, if you're buying a police cruiser secondhand.

“It's buyer beware, because when we take that equipment off, there can be holes in the vehicles that could lead to carbon monoxide,” Judd said.

The Polk County Sheriff's Office is taking its Explorers to a Ford dealer to have them checked out, just in case. Ford offered to fix any problems on all of those SUV's for free.
 

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