Police departments inspect cruisers after Montgomery County malfunctions -- Gazette.Net


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Montgomery County Police Department’s problem with the steering of its Crown Victoria Police Interceptors has prompted other police departments in Maryland to inspect their own as well.

The department was wrapping up inspections of its 324 Crown Victoria cruisers for a potential steering problem after two cruisers experienced steering defects recently.

No injury or collision resulted from either incident, police said. They said the defect was identified by the county after the second incident. Neither defect resulted in a crash or injury.

Police Chief J. Thomas Manger ordered the cruisers, accounting for about a third of the police vehicles, to be taken out of service until they could be inspected.

Prince George’s County Police have begun inspections of the 800 Crown Victoria cruisers in its fleet, said department spokesman Officer Edward Martin. The Crown Victoria cruisers account for half of the department’s 1,600 cruisers.

“We haven’t had any problems. It’s just a precautionary measure to make sure we don’t have any problems,” Martin said.

The Frederick County Sheriff’s Office also is inspecting its Crown Victoria cruisers and found a steering problem on one of them so far, said spokesman Jim Price. Frederick City Police do not use Crown Victoria cruisers.

Maryland State Police Sgt. Marc Black said the state police notified the barrack commanders throughout the state of the potential steering problem, but did not take them out of operation. The State Police inspect the cruisers every 5,000 miles and the steering will be checked during the next inspection.

Of the first 172 cruisers inspected by Montgomery County, 127 were found defect-free, but work was under way on the others, police said.

After the steering defect was found following the second steering malfunction, Montgomery County Police contacted the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Ford Motor Co. The federal agency is conducting an investigation of the defect.

According to the federal preliminary report on the NHTSA’s web site, a third Crown Victoria used by a government in a different jurisdiction also experienced the same steering defect.

All three malfunctions occurred at low speeds.

cford@gazette.net