Texas cop possibly exposed to carbon monoxide in patrol car

This is the second incident involving an Austin officer and possible carbon monoxide exposure from a patrol car

By Police1 Staff

AUSTIN, Texas — For the second time in two months, an Austin police officer was possibly exposed to carbon monoxide while driving his patrol car.

Police told KVUE that the officer in last week’s incident was not harmed thanks to a CO detector sounding off. 

Due to the severity of the first carbon monoxide exposure incident, which has prevented the officer from returning to work, Police Chief Brian Manley installed detectors in all Ford Explorers. 

Multiple departments have experienced issues with their Explorers. Newport Beach Officer Brian McDowell passed out behind the wheel while responding to a call and struck a tree, CBS News reported. He said he felt nauseous and had a headache before he blacked out.

According to CBS, Ford has allegedly known about the issue since 2012. Ford documents and customer complaints show that the leak occurs when the air conditioning is active, in circulation mode and the driver is accelerating. 

In 2015, a Ford representative said in a deposition that the problem was a “design issue” and the company was “working on it.” A company spokesperson told CBS: “In rare circumstances, there have been instances where customers detected an exhaust odor… [the issue] poses no safety risk.”

As a precaution, the Austin police installed the detectors to “provide an extra layer of protection.”

“If officers are going to have the potential to be exposed, it is in the best interest and the safety of our officers to provide some kind of security,” Assistant Chief Ely Reyes told KVUE.

The vehicle has been turned into city fleet maintenance for testing. 

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