The Aspen Police Department has never been traditional, whether it has been in how we interact with our community, or the tools we use. Through times when most of the country was driving Ford Crown Victoria and Chevrolet Caprice police vehicles, the Aspen Police were driving:
Ford Escape Hybrid (2011-Current)
In November of 2011 the Aspen Police Department debuted two new hybrid vehicles as part of their Community Safety fleet. The Ford Escapes have replace two Chevrolet S-10's and boast a hefty 25mpg in town. Similar to other hybrid models, the Escapes switch to electric when they are idling or at low speeds, reducing their overall fuel needs.
Toyota Highlander Hybrid (2008-Current)
On May 30th, 2008 the Aspen Police Department announced that after two months of successful “on the street” police patrol testing that the Highlander would be a solid police vehicle platform. In January 2009, the department completed the transition to a full fleet of Toyota Highlander Hybrids
Download the Toyota Highlander Hybrid Press Packet in PDF format.
Volvo XC90 (2001-2008)
After the contract with Saab was terminated, the Aspen Police Department replaced the fleet with Volvo XC90 SUVs. The vehicle, though reliable and good in snow conditions, had very low gas mileage. The City of Aspen, during this period, was reviewing it's commitment to environmentalism and decided to take an aggressive stance of reducing greenhouse gases.
As a result, the police department only had the Volvos for a few years before finding a more economical and environmental solution to its fleet needs.
Through the late 60s and into the early 1970s the Aspen Police Department used Ford Torino 4-doors “rear wheel drive monsters,” according to Michael Chandler, who worked at the department from 1971 to 1978 in varying capacities. At about 8,000 feet in altitude and at the base of a ski mountain, the rear-wheel-drive vehicles were a poor fit for the environment. In 1973 a personnel change brought in a new police chief and with that... an open mind about changing the police department. Chief Marty Hershey gave permission to replace the Ford Torino with the Saabs.
The Saabs were excellent cars in the snow, though they lacked ground clearance which posed a threat at heavy snow times. They were very nimble, and at a police ice driving training in the late ’90s, I remember just how seriously they out-performed the traditional police vehicles. And they were fast, really fast, and fun cars.
We didn’t leave Saabs, they left us. We had continued to work with the advertising campaigns of Saab throughout the years of the relationship, however, when Saab was purchased by a large corporation, it came down to us that they had decided that our little cooperative effort was not worth their participation, and priced us out of the Saab business.