Dallas: The city of Dallas plans to reach out to other cities in an effort to build a coalition of public opinion strong enough to force Ford to address what Dallas claims are safety problems with Ford Crown Victorias used by police departments.
A Dallas police officer was killed in an accident involving a Crown Victoria police car October 23. The city has sued Ford over the death.
Dallas city attorney Madeleine Johnson sent a letter in late May to Ford CEO William Clay Ford, stating, "Dallas intends to actively reach out to major cities and counties in Texas and the nation, seeking their support."
Scott Tims, a Dallas public information officer, said the city is "in the process of contacting other major cities and counties. Our case is very clear. We feel very strong about our position."
Francine Romine, manager of global policy for Ford, said Dallas' efforts won't change how Ford communicates with its municipal and police-department customers. Ford has been sending out updates as news develops about the issue of Crown Victoria safety. Even before the safety issue arose, it regularly talked to owners of its police cars. "For years, we've been in constant contact with these fleets," Romine said.
But Dallas cut off communications with Ford by insisting Ford talk only to the city attorney, Romine said.
"The city of Dallas is the one that said, 'We are not interested in talking to you. Talk to our attorney.' It's kind of hard to talk through lawyers," she said.
Ford is facing a number of lawsuits implicating fuel tanks in Crown Victorias in the deaths of more than a dozen police officers. The deaths have come in high-speed rear-end collisions.
Dallas wants Ford to test the Crown Victorias in crashes of 90mph. Ford has tested them at 50mph, exceeding tests by the federal government, and now tests them at 75mph using a plastic shield around the gas tank to prevent punctures. "No vehicle in the world is designed to withstand that kind of collision and not have any fuel leakage," Romine said of 90mph tests.