Report: New Albuquerque cruisers causing illness

July 24, 2013 • State News

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — New cruisers with the Albuquerque Police Department are being blamed for making a handful of officers sick, although officials say they are dumbfounded on the reasons why.

KOAT-TV reports ( that officials are asking officers to change some habits, such as not leaving vehicle idle for long periods of time, until the department can determine the cause of the illness.

Deputy Chief Allen Banks told the station for a story Tuesday that since [auth] June fewer than five officers using the new cruisers have come forward about headaches and nausea after being in their cruisers.

“At this point we have not found any definitive answer. But of course we are being cautious,” Banks said.

However, Stephanie Lopez, president of the Albuquerque Police Officers’ Association, said she knew of at least 10 officers affected by the new vehicles.

Albuquerque police officials said idling is common practice for officers in the field since officers do it when they write reports or run radar. But Albuquerque police want to see less of it until they figure out why some of its officers are getting sick after being in their cruisers.

“When they run their air conditioners, make sure they are running fresh air into their cars not circulated air and to not to leave their cars sitting and idling for long periods of time,” Banks said, referring to the advice officials are telling officers.

The department has tested the cars for an array of things, including carbon monoxide. So far, the tests have not resulted in any clues.

In a statement, Chrysler says it’s working with Albuquerque police to pinpoint the problem. “Chrysler Group has not experienced this issue with any of our vehicles. We note that carbon monoxide has not been found in these vehicles,” the company said.

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