Investigators from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration are in town this week, with representatives from Ford Motor Company, to run a series of audits on the fleet of Ford Police Interceptors (souped-up Explorers) Austin police have been using as patrol cars. The fleet, which includes nearly 400 vehicles, has run into problems since March, when reports first started popping up that cops were experiencing symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning – headaches, dizziness, general nausea – due to the leaking of emissions into the cabs of some of the cars. The situation died down after an initial rush, headlined by Sgt. Zachary LaHood's near-fatal episode (LaHood remains on medical leave, and in June filed a lawsuit against Ford), but has since re-emerged, with six officers reporting suspected leaks earlier this month. APD has pulled 60 cars for testing. The city said it expects the NHTSA's and Ford's inspections to continue through the week.
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