Several Valley police departments are taking a closer look at the SUVs their officers drive after a rash of carbon monoxide scares across the country.
Just this week, the police department in Austin, Texas took 60 vehicles off the street.
The concern stems from a potentially lethal carbon monoxide build-up in a police variant of the Ford Explorer, specifically model years 2011-2017.
ABC15 has been looking into the possible impact for weeks, checking with 16 agencies around Maricopa County. Of those, 11 use the SUV in question.
“We spend most of our days in our police cars, eight, 10, 12 hours depending on whatever agency it is,” said Peoria Police Officer Brandon Sheffert.
Four agencies, including Peoria Police, have now added new levels of protection to their police vehicles, but none say they have experienced any documented problems.
"We immediately started to evaluate the problem and we put in some detectors to notify the officers," added Sheffert.
ABC15 has learned that Ford directly alerted Peoria Police to the potential risk, which prompted additional changes.
"If we get a complaint from any of the officers about anything like that, we also have our fleet manager take that car out and try to replicate that issue, with a more accurate and a more sensitive meter," said Sheffert.
The Arizona Department of Public Safety also uses the vehicles almost exclusively.
In a statement, DPS said they are “currently in the process of inspecting the fleet for any exhaust issues and correcting any deficiencies that are identified.”
Police in Buckeye, Chandler, and Surprise have also installed some form of carbon monoxide detection to give officers a warning if levels get dangerous.
Ford Motor Company issued a statement to ABC15 regarding the reports:
“We have thoroughly investigated reports of exhaust odor and do not believe this odor condition poses a safety risk. If customers have a concern with their vehicles, they are encouraged to contact their local Ford dealership. In the case of Police Interceptors, odors can be caused by non-Ford modifications or repairs that were not properly sealed.” - Daniel Barbossa, Broadcast Communications, Ford Motor Company.
Mesa Police told ABC15 they have ordered carbon monoxide detectors too, but there is such a high demand, the detectors are on back order.