Lopez, Keith

This interview is with Keith Lopez. Part 1 was recorded on April 30th, 2018 and covers the following themes: 

  • Childhood in Flagstaff, Elfrida, and Douglas from the late 1950s to late 1970s. Includes discussions of the border, agriculture, unions and high school life in Douglas. 

  • Lopez’s move to Flagstaff after high school and introduction to law enforcement. Life as an NAU security guard. 

  • Hired in Bisbee as a police officer at 18 years of age. Family attitudes about law enforcement and Lopez’s interest in the field. 

  • Bisbee police work, brawling miners, out of town hippies, and the social life of a small town policeman. 

  • Move to Cochise County Sheriff in Douglas, AZ in 1979. Gang fights, few officers, and cooperation between Sheriffs and Douglas Police, despite administrative bickering. 

  • Working alone without a handheld radio. 

  • Relationship between local law enforcement, border crossers, and Mexican police. 

  • Drugs in the late 1970s and early 1980s.  

  • Experience with migrant workers. 

  • SWAT training. 

  • Dynamics between Sheriffs and residents. 

  • The use of force and changes in policing after the Rodney King beating. 

  • Return to Bisbee Police Department. Starting a police reserve academy. 

  • Arrival of the Christ Miracle Healing Center and Church in in Palominas, Arizona. Tension between the Miracle Valley group, local residents, and law enforcement. Violence, media, and race in the Miracle Valley shootout. 

Part 2 was recorded on May 31st, 2018 and covers the following themes:

  • The Bisbee Police Department jail during the early 1980s, detention of illegal immigrants, cooking, and drug storage. 

  • Interactions with Border Patrol in the 1980s. 

  • Impressions of Tucson. 

  • Move from Bisbee PD to Tucson Police Department. 

  • Changes over Lopez’s career relating to use of force, documentation of police, and media coverage of policing. 

  • Relationship between Tucson City Council and Tucson Police. 

  • Demographics and expectations of police recruits and changing styles of policing from 1985 to 1997. 

  • Rise of technology in law enforcement. 

  • Prioritization of crimes at TPD. 

  • Quintessential Tucson crimes of the mid-1980s. 

  • Relationship between police departments in South Tucson and Tucson. 

  • Gangs in Tucson from 1985-1997. California influence, graffiti, drive-by shootings, and drugs. 

  • Thoughts on popular perceptions of police and police violence. 

  • Window tint laws. 

  • Police outreach, community policing, and the “broken window” policy during 1980s. 

  • Lopez’s early retirement from the Tucson Police. 

  • Post-retirement career in acting.

PeopleAengus Anderson