Dodge airbag recall affects Indiana police fleets

The airbag in an IMPD officer's cruiser didn't deploy during a Thursday morning crash.

Police are looking into why the airbags in an officer's cruiser didn't deploy in a crash during a Thursday morning pursuit.

Dodge Chargers have become the most cost-effective vehicle available to police departments nationwide. Indiana is no different, but a recall of 2011 and 2012 models has called that choice into question.

The crash at Holt Road and West Washington Street early Thursday morning is a prime example. The head-on crash followed a chase. One car's airbag deployed, but the police cruiser's did not.

The investigating officer on the scene was asked if there is a problem with the cars.

"I am thinking it is, but I don't know. I'd like to have somebody look into it," said IMPD Sgt. Steve Davis.

Eyewitness News learned there is a recall for a potential electrical problem associated with the airbag system. Metro police has 92 Chargers in its fleet - down to 91 after Thursday's crash - and the department is trying to determine why the airbag didn't deploy.

"See what the speeds were. Why didn't the airbag deploy? How fast? Sometimes things have to be a certain way, certain speed. We still need to determine that," said IMPD Sgt. Linda Jackson.

Currently, Indiana State Police has 470 Dodge Chargers in its fleet statewide. If they are still under warranty and under the recall, they are getting fixed at dealerships across the state.

Many sheriff's departments across the state also use the Charger. In Johnson County, Sheriff Dough Cox has 34 of them - he also got the recall notice.

"This is no different than a bulletproof vest they are provided or the firearm or TASER," Cox said. "Another piece of equipment we expect to work properly to protect them from injury."

Many times, the equipment officers carry is the only thing that keeps them safe from harm. Thursday's accident is another prime example. The officer involved was very fortunate to be able to walk away from a head-on collision.

"Extremely. You never know what will come around the next corner and this is a classic example," Davis said.