Rochester, MN (KROC AM News) -The Rochester Police Department is taking no chances - CO detectors have been placed in all of its Ford SUV patrol vehicles.

Capt. John Sherwin says the decision was made due to concerns about carbon monoxide exposure to officers who often spend considerable time in the vehicles during their shift. Sherwin says so far, there have been no reported issues involving RPD officers. That has not been the case in other cities around the country.

The Austin, Texas police department decided to take all its 400 Ford Explorers from the patrol fleet after more than 60 officers became ill while operating the vehicles in the past five months. Like Rochester’s police department, the Ford SUVs make up more than half of the patrol fleet.

Also, the Washington State Patrol says six of its troopers have been sickened by suspected CO exposure so far this year and two ended up in the hospital. A WSP spokesman says one had high levels of CO poisoning. Six of the WSP Ford SUVs were taken to the dealership for inspection and repairs.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has announced it is expanding its investigation into the reported problem after receiving hundreds of complaints involving law enforcement and civilian versions of Ford Explorers, model years 2011-2017. The agency says preliminary tests show CO levels may be elevated in certain driving scenarios. It also says it has found out that the law enforcement version of the vehicle was experiencing exhaust manifold cracks. More than a million vehicles may be involved in the investigation.

The Ford Motor Company is taking action. Ford says it will cover the costs to repair the law enforcement version of the SUV. The company says the installation of equipment by law enforcement agencies may be to blame, noting the work could have left unsealed holes in the underbody of the vehicles.

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