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Austin police arrests use of SUV on fears of auto defect

In some instances, the equipment that law enforcement has at its disposal can make a difference in how effectively it can protect its citizens. When fleet vehicles are purchased for the purpose of ensuring the safety of others, an issue such as a serious auto defect can sharply hamper police efforts to perform their duties in a safe and timely manner. The Austin police force recently decided to arrest all use of its fleet of Ford Interceptors over concerns of carbon monoxide leaks into the passenger areas.

According to various departments and agencies, an estimated 70 employees have filed workers' compensation claims due to exposure to the toxic gas. A department spokesperson stated that claims have continued to escalate since earlier this year. Approximately 20 police officers have had measurable quantities of the gas in their systems.

Three officers are still unable to return to duty as a result of the harm they suffered. The Austin Police Department has made the decision to suspend the use of the modified Ford Explorers, though this decision will result in approximately 61 vehicles being removed from the department's fleet. Now, regardless of an officer's personal preference, many will have to double up until the issue can be resolved.

Taking so many vehicles off of patrol could result in fewer officers being available to respond to emergency calls. On its part, Ford has purportedly stated that it would help contribute to the costs of repairs for the affected vehicles. It is unknown how extensively those who were affected were injured by the inhalation of the carbon monoxide. Those who have been injured may choose to pursue additional compensation beyond workers' compensation by filing a civil claim against the company responsible for this potentially deadly auto defect.

Source: twcnews.com, "Austin to remove all Ford Explorers from police, city service amid carbon monoxide concerns", Reena Diamante, July 28, 2017

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