Local Police Investigate Their Vehicles For Carbon Monoxide ProblemPosted: Updated:
There are dozens of police Ford Explorers on the road across the north country.
Now, some of those police are taking a closer look. Is there something about them that's causing a carbon monoxide risk?
At the end of a long shift, Sergeant Victor Rodriguez, the fleet maintenance officer for the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office, has sometimes thought about it.
"Those morning hours, those late morning hours, you kind of wonder. Am I tired, or is it the exhaust," he said.
Federal investigators are probing several thousand complaints of carbon monoxide seeping into the cabins of Ford Explorers and several police car crashes are blamed on the problem.
Now, the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office is taking no chances.
"We're looking at trying to get every vehicle, we have four of them, like I said, all of them over to county highway this week and inspected," said Rodriguez.
Inspected for exhaust manifold cracks. Blamed for carbon monoxide leaks. And now Ford believes police add-ons, such as lights and antennas, are creating pathways for the fumes.
"A lot of these different things that are run on these vehicles are additional holes that weren't there when they left the factories," said Rodriguez.
The sheriff's office will also be putting CO detectors in its Explorers.
"Just as an added peace of mind to make sure our guys are safe," said Rodriguez.
Watertown city police have several Explorers, they're being monitored for problems.
State police have nearly 250 of them statewide.
"We've been closely monitoring our fleet but to this point in time we have not had any problems," said Beau Duffy, spokesman for state police.
You might be asking is the problem only in police department versions of the Explorer? That's something federal investigators and Ford are trying to sort out.
Update Wednesday night: In a statement to 7 News, Ford said:
“Safety is our top priority. We continue to investigate. We have not found elevated levels of carbon monoxide in non-Police Ford Explorers. To address police customers who drive modified vehicles in unique ways, we are covering the costs of specific repairs in every Police Interceptor Utility that may have carbon monoxide concerns, regardless of modifications made after leaving Ford’s factory.”