The NHTSA says so far more than 2,700 complaints have been filed with its agency and the investigation applies to vehicles made between 2011 and 2017.
"Safety is our top priority", Weigandt said.
While there have been reports of exhaust odors in some regular Explorers, those instances are unrelated to reports of carbon monoxide described by some police departments. "To address police customers who drive modified vehicles in unique ways, we are covering the costs of specific repairs in every Police Interceptor Utility that may have carbon monoxide concerns". Injuries range from loss of consciousness, headaches, crash-related injuries, and up to one carbon monoxide-related exposure injury.
It's a problem that's led to almost 400 similar Explorers parked in Austin, Texas, where dozens of officers have reported health problems.
"Any time there is a report of officers getting sick or anything to do with carbon monoxide, it's concerning", Scott said.
60 APD interceptors were reported to be contaminated with the poisonous gas in the past four months.
"We need to remove these vehicles immediately", interim City Manage Elaine Hart said "We need to keep (officers) safe as well as our community". Interim Police Chief Brian Manley said Austin will have just as many officers on patrol, but that they will ride in pairs.
"There will a concern there will be a spike in crime", Manley said.
Sgt. Chriswell Scott said the Marana Police Department will install carbon monoxide detectors in its 8 Explorers. If these holes are not properly sealed, they could create an opening where exhaust fumes could enter the cabin.
The agency also said that through cooperation with police departments, it has learned that the Police Interceptor version of the Explorer is experiencing exhaust manifold cracks that are hard to detect and may explain exhaust odors.
The NHTSA announced Thursday it is expanding its investigation into carbon monoxide problems with Ford Explorers.
Police departments have reported smelling carbon monoxide inside the top-selling police vehicle, which is manufactured at the Chicago Assembly Plant in Hegewish. It made a pre-tax profit of $2.2 billion in North America, and the automaker expects its North American profit to be down as compared to last because of the higher commodity costs and engineering expenses related to the development of autonomous vehicles.