The concerns come as the U.S. government's auto safety agency has expanded an investigation into complaints of exhaust fumes inside Ford Explorer SUVs. The probe covers 1.3 million Explorers from the 2011 to 2017 model years.
Many of the complaints came from police departments using the Police Interceptor version of the Explorer in fleets.
Captain Joshua Schirard with the Galveston Police Department said 27 police Ford Explorers in their fleet are out of service until they can be checked for potential carbon monoxide leaks.
"A lot of it is due to some of the outfitting that is done to Police Interceptor vehicles," Schirard said Wednesday. "A lot of new holes - drill holes - for power cables and the like create new entrances and possible avenues for carbon monoxide gas to get in the cabin."
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Schirard said one officer reported feeling lightheaded over the weekend, but medical tests showed that officer did not have elevated levels of carbon monoxide in his system.
Nevertheless, the department isn't taking any chances. The 27 vehicles are going back to Ford for testing.
"They're going to check all the seals and weather stripping, specifically the back hatch door, to ensure no exhaust is getting in through the door. They're also going to make a few electronic adjustments to the air conditioning to ensure that during periods of heavy acceleration, the AC is pulling in fresh, clean air and not any air that could contain exhaust," Schirard said.
According to a letter Ford sent out to all of its dealers in the U.S., "Ford's investigation into this issue is ongoing. However, the company has discovered holes and unsealed spaces in the back of some Police Interceptor Utilities that had police equipment installed after leaving Ford's factory."
Schirard said Ford will be paying for the testing and any repairs needed. He said in the meantime, some officers will be sharing vehicles with colleagues working opposite shifts so that patrols are not affected.
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