Dozens of Clayton County police officers are in tempoary vehicles after Channel 2 Action News alerted the chief to the number of his department's cars with recalled airbags.
"Anytime there's a safety issue, we've got to address it," Chief Mike Register told consumer investigator Jim Strickland, who discovered dozens more recalls than the county had realized.
Strickland found about 15 percent of the fleet had been recalled. Register ordered the cars out of service after Strickland requested an interview.
"This came to light yesterday in reference to the recall, and it doesn't matter. It's a concern of mine. It's a concern of my staff,” said Register. “We want to do whatever we can to ensure the vehicle an officer operates in is safe.
There'll be no decrease in service and no increase in response time."
Fleet manager Jeff Metarko says it's been hard to get parts.
"They can't repair what they don't have yet. But a local Dodge dealership has a line on a couple of parts that hopefully get repaired next week," he said.
About 20 older Chargers need new driver's side air bag inflators to reduce risk of explosion. The inflators from supplier Takata are blamed for nine deaths.
Fiat Chrysler notes that only one injury is linked to an inflator installed in any Dodge product. Newer Chargers need a repair to keep side airbags from going off on their own.
Clayton County officials were unaware until Strickland told them that they had three dozen cars affected.
"Actually, we found out from you. We haven't received any notification from Dodge yet," said Metarko.
Strickland learned Friday afternoon that Cobb County police parked less than a dozen Chargers. Repairs for those also begin Monday.
Strickland's source at Fiat Chrylser says the company has been working directly with the Georgia State Patrol, which has more than 800 Chargers. Not all are recalled.
Strickland has run more than 100 VINs and discovered many already repaired.
The state patrol did not have a representative available for an on-camera interview Friday. Strickland is planning to follow up Monday.
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