Ford Motor Company said it will install safety devices on some 350,000 police cars that could catch fire if involved in a rear-end collision.
The safety of Ford's Crown victories came under fire after two Arizona state troopers were killed when their Crown Victoria was hit from behind and the gas tank exploded.
"Anything that's sharp and can puncture in this environment, that's a problem," a mechanic said.
Now Ford plans to install safety shields on more than 350,000 police cars to prevent punctures and fuel tank fires cited in the deaths of 12 police officers.
"It was not a common problem. There was a certain set of circumstances that had to occur for it to happen. But it was frequent enough that we want to protect out people from it," said Deputy chief Jeff Morris of the Rockford police department.
The Rockford police department has 125 Crown Victorias, including almost all of its marked fleet. The safety concern was so great that department administrators took precautions of their own.
"About a month ago our mechanics ground off a particular axle that was thought to be a potential danger," Morris said.
Morris said traffic stops put police officers at a higher risk for rear-end collisions and he's confident the safety device will reduce serious injury.
Ford said it will cost about $50 million to install all of the safety shields.
From now on all of Ford's police cars will come from the factory with the shields and other upgrades already in place. The shields are five plastics pieces that cover the rear axle.