The Aspen Police Department in Aspen, Colorado has had a long history with Saab Cars (1974-2005). Saab as a police vehicle in America are used only in two cities. The resort towns of Vail and Aspen used Saab sedans and hatchbacks (900, 9000, 9-5…) as their standard patrol car for over 25 years.
The first imports were Red Audis, then we changed to Red Saabs, then they went to Blue Saabs. Aspen was the first ski area to have imported Police cars, with Vail following a few years later.
This was part of Chief Marty Hershey’s efforts to “de-redneck” the Police Department and change the image. Witnesses say that this time most people remember thier change to Levis and Levis Jackets, sportiff shorts in the summer, and Saabs.
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. When the new Saabs arrived either in 1973 or 1974, they were warmly received
Back then, some Aspen cops went to a rescue conference in Custer County. Guys down there still talk about the cops in Saabs :)
Aspen Police featuring this shot from the1983 Saab APD ski team, with Jim Loyd, Rob McClung, John Goodwin (driving the Saab), Greg Sebaly and Terry Quirk.
The Aspen Police Department and their sweet SAABs:
Here’s an interesting testimony of local villagers in Aspen, from that time:
“Growing up in a town that had Saab police cars had its advantages. Such as their distinctive engine sound which could be heard from blocks away as they approached in the dark. Having an ear for them kept me out of all sorts of trouble as a kid.”