New technology being tested allows police cars to kill germs, prevent COVID-19 spread

New technology helping police departments disinfect vehicles

We’ve all been finding ways to keep the surfaces we touch often clean, and that’s especially true for police officers who regularly transport suspects.

Now, a new technology in the testing phase is helping departments protect themselves from the coronavirus quickly and safely.

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Boardman Township Police is much smaller than its counterparts in Pittsburgh and Cleveland, but the department is one of only four nationwide selected by Ford to test a new technology to rapidly disinfect police cruisers.

Police fleet manager Michael Carkido walked Channel 11′s Aaron Martin through how the super-heated disinfectant works -- programming the vehicle to raise the temperature to more than 130 degrees for 30 minutes to an hour.

“This is the most effective way to kill germs, more so and better than any chemical,” Carkido said. “It’s no different than sitting in a hot parking lot in Arizona. When you open the door, you get that rush of hot air.”

Studies from Ohio University show the system is effective in killing almost all germs and bacteria on surfaces, including the coronavirus. It’s an important factor given the unknowns of who could be riding in an officer’s backseat.

Allegheny Township Police Chief Duane Fisher is waiting on Ford to offer the technology to departments nationwide, something he is very interested in.

“There’s so many different reasons that make sense to have a system like this -- that we can clean a vehicle at any time without the officer even having to bring it back to the station to do it,” he said.

A Ford spokesperson told Channel 11 the technology is still in its testing phase, but they’ve had interest from police departments nationwide. At this point, it’s unclear when it will be widely available.

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