SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - The Santa Barbara Police Department is taking swift action after recent reports by other law enforcement agencies claiming carbon monoxide may be leaking into their patrol Ford Explorer SUV's.
The Austin Police Department pulled 400 of its SUV's off the road, after at least 20 officers were found with the harmful gas in their blood.
An officer with the Henderson Police Department said one of his officers passed out behind the wheel and crashed into a ditch. Capt. James Thibodeaux said the officer's carbon monoxide levels were "near" lethal.
Federal regulators are looking into reports of exhaust leaking into the passenger cabin of the Explorers, model years 2011 to 2017. An estimated 1.3 million vehicles could be affected.
Santa Barbara Police utilize 14 Explorers for patrol in the city.
The City of Santa Barbara Fleet Management has completed testing on the current fleet under varying conditions, including unmodified Explorers and modified Explorers ready for patrol. No carbon monoxide leaks were found.
However, out of an abundance of caution, Fleet Management will finish installing carbon monoxide sensors in all of the city's Explorer vehicles.
"The department and the city want to make sure our employees are safe, and that is of he utmost importance." said Sgt. Joshua Morton.
The Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office has 10 Ford Explorer SUV's in its fleet. The department issued this statement: "We are aware of this issue and are looking at purchasing the same carbon monoxide sensors that SBPD is as a precaution. We have already purchased a few for our K-9 Units who would be especially susceptible if there was a problem. We have not had any issues to this date."