West Haven officers concerned by Ford cruiser exhaust issues - WFSB 3 Connecticut

West Haven officers concerned by Ford cruiser exhaust issues

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(WFSB file photo) (WFSB file photo)
WEST HAVEN, CT (WFSB) -

It's a concern with police departments across the country, including here in Connecticut.

Exhaust from a popular police vehicle, the Ford Explorer, which could be getting into cruisers and making officers sick.

In West Haven, police had to pull two Explorers out of service after officers began feeling sick.

They're also taking other pro-active steps until Ford gets to the bottom of the problem.

"Obviously the safety of our officers comes first," Sgt. David Tammaro of West Haven police said.

It's a small yet simple fix, and one that could be life-saving for the members of the West Haven Police Department who log long hours in the Ford Explorer cruisers.

"Some of them are in here for 8 hours, 16 hours. We're very concerned about it and that's why we took that approach," Tammaro said.

Tammaro said the department installed the small, portable carbon monoxide detectors in response to nationwide concerns about exhaust possibly getting into the cabins of the Explorer cruisers.

"We have 10 2016 Ford utility interceptors. Two of them we're actually taking out of service from officers complaining of an odor, described as a propane odor," Tammaro said.

It's estimated there are 135,000 explorer police cruisers on the road.

And all across the country, just like here in West Haven, police departments are rushing to check on their fleet as federal regulators are looking into possible elevated carbon monoxide levels in police explorer model years 2011 to 2017.

Across the border in Massachussets, a third of the town of Auburn's cruisers are out of service after six officers were treated for carbon monoxide poisoning...one even passing out behind the wheel.

Ford is wondering if the issue is caused by after market modifications for the cruiser's equipment...but it is considering a recall.

"There's nothing we take more seriously than providing you with the safest most reliable vehicles to support your life-saving work," Hau Thai-Tang, Vice President of Ford's product development and purchasing.

"We're just waiting for the manufacturers solution on how they're going to deal with it," Tammaro said.

Ford said it's working with police departments across the country to address the problems. No final decision has been made on a possible recall.

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