SAN MARCOS, Texas — The news was a cautionary tale.

Police officers from other departments reporting carbon monoxide poisoning in Ford Explorers sparked the San Marcos Police Department to take action to protect their own, and then some.

"When you have a prisoner partition in here you need to be able to monitor the air throughout the vehicle because you may have somebody back here that you’re ultimately responsible for," said Commander Brandon Winkenwerder of the San Marcos Police Department.

Commanders did their research. They found that problems could happen easily and the trigger can be normal activity.

"Burglary patrol all night is a good example," said Commander Brandon Winkenwerder. "Those vehicles idle for an extended period of time and if you open the door or crack the window and there isn’t adequate air flow, you can be letting carbon monoxide in."

Like law enforcement, sometimes motorists will also idle or prop their trunks open to make room for larger items.

"The hazardous fumes can get into the vehicle and keep feeding into the passenger compartment," he said.

The trouble could come from any make or model car.

So the department is moving to outfit all their units with equipment to detect the poisonous, odorless, colorless gas.

"We put the information out to our folks about where the potential sources are and what the potential symptoms are and we asked them to be aware and we also asked them to do some of their own research," said Commander Brandon Winkenwerder.

They advise all drivers to take the same precautions to protect their air.


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