Following reports of high carbon monoxide levels in certain police cruisers around the country, several law enforcement agencies in South Florida are taking precautions to prevent their officers from becoming sick.
High levels of carbon monoxide -- an odorless, colorless gas that can be fatal, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention -- were reported in Ford Police Interceptor patrol cars in Texas and Massachusetts. The gas appears to have caused an officer in Austin to allegedly became nauseous and lightheaded while driving the vehicle.
Since then, the Austin Police Department has pulled nearly 400 Ford Police Interceptors from patrol due to reports of dozens of officers becoming sick.
Several law enforcement agencies in South Florida use Ford Police Interceptors, a modified version of a Ford Explorer. However, many have already taken precautionary measures against potential carbon monoxide illness.
At City of Miami police, every vehicle -- regardless of make and model -- is equipped with a carbon monoxide detector.
"Our officers know that after 90 days they are to report to our motorpool unit to get a thorough inspection and to switch out their detectors, " said Officer Christopher Bess.
According to the Miami-Dade Police Department, carbon monoxide detectors have also been installed in all vehicles. The majority of the Ford Police Interceptors at the Broward Sheriff’s Office also have carbon monoxide detectors, and the Miami Beach Police Department plans on installing detectors soon.
Ford’s investigation into the 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.