Harper, Richard

Part 1 of 5 and was recorded at the base of Tumamoc Hill in Tucson, Arizona on April 4th, 2018. It covers the following themes:  

  • b. 1952. Move to Tucson in 1965. Life in Barrio Centro, Country Club and 30th.  

  • Tucson during the late 1960s: urban expansion, commercial movement away from downtown, drag racing on Speedway, drive-ins. 

  • The cultural sixties: anti-war marches, empowerment, racial tension. Students trying to close the street between Tucson High campuses. Changing rules about hair, dress, and student freedom. 

  • Generational tension between children and parents. Harper’s desire to serve in the military and dislike of the Vietnam War. College at UA while serving in the National Guard. 

  • Harper’s law enforcement education at UA. Changes in criminology. 

  • High school job at Randolph (later Reid) Park Zoo. 

  • Sports writing for Tucson High paper, importance of high school football in Tucson, meeting the photographer Jack Scheaffer. 

  • First interest in becoming a police officer. 

  • Working at Hi Corbett Field during college.  

  • National Guard basic training at Ft. Jackson, SC. 

  • Policing skills learned at the University of Arizona. Important professors. Community policing theory and interest in working at the Tucson Police Department. 

  • Experience at the Police Academy in 1974. 

  • First attempt to implement community policing. Culture of TPD in the mid-1970s. Community and anonymity in new areas of Tucson. Dirt bike problems in east Tucson. 

  • Tucson Police strike in 1975. 

Part 2 of 5 and was recorded at the base of Tumamoc Hill in Tucson, Arizona on April 19th, 2018. It covers the following themes:  

  • Tucson Police Department morale after the 1975 strike. 

  • Social life before and after becoming a police officer. Code of silence. Relationship with non-police and neighbors. 

  • Evolution of policing rules across Harper’s career. Increasing complexity of the law and department regulations. 

  • Split second decisions in law enforcement. 

  • The increasing role of communications and technology during Harper’s career. 

  • Police discretion, police misconduct, and the positive and negative effects of being more closely watched by technology.  

  • The experience of being a parent and a police officer. 

  • American gun culture since the 1970s. The murder of TPD officer Erik Hite and difficulty of dealing with a civilian with assault weapons as a police officer. 

  • Concealed weapons laws.

Part 3 of 5 and was recorded at the base of Tumamoc Hill in Tucson, Arizona on May 10th, 2018. It covers the following themes:  

  • TPD-community connections in the mid-1970s: vacation home checks, time to stop and interact with kids, bike safety. Activity sheets as a tacit quota system.  

  • Crisis intervention training and the changing police response to domestic violence. Pima County’s Victim Witness Program. 

  • Police in hospitals. 

  • Acceptable justifications for arrest in the mid-1970s. Tucson City Jail on Silverbell. Medicalizing alcohol and drug use, making them non-jailable offenses. Difficulty in placing alcohol and drug users. 

  • Mid-1970s crime: decline in protest, car clubs as proto-gangs, changing homelessness categories. The changing definition of obscenity. 

  • Relationship between Supreme Court rulings and daily police work. Contempt of cop. The balance between police initiative versus police abuse. 

  • The introduction of bulletproof vests. 

  • Therapy and mental health care for police from the mid-1970s to late 2000s. 

  • Police identity while off duty. 

  • Policing homosexuality in the 1970s. Gay rights movement. Harper’s first same-sex domestic violence call.  Fear of AIDS in the 1980s.

Part 4 of 5 and was recorded at the base of Tumamoc Hill in Tucson, Arizona on May 16th, 2018. It covers the following themes:

  • Harper’s interest in community policing. Theories and methods of law enforcement: random patrol, problem oriented policing, community policing. Public trust in police.

  • Tucson’s attempt to use New York-style “zero tolerance policing” in the 1990s.

  • Definition of TPD’s “team policing” policy. Organizational hierarchy in random patrol versus community policing environments. The rise in using computers to guide police.

  • Harper's involvement in a community policing project in the Elvira neighborhood during the mid-1990s and his attempt to advance community policing within TPD.

  • A shooting in the main Tucson Police lobby in the early 1980s. Ensuing controversy and Harper’s demotion from Lieutenant to Sergeant.

  • Harper’s relocation to Tucson’s east side precinct and work as a detective.

  • Fate of community policing at TPD. Struggle between line and management.

  • Unionization of TPD in 1993 and union dislike of community policing.

  • An account of Harper’s attempt to fire an officer accused of rape.

Part 5 of 5 and was recorded at the base of Tumamoc Hill in Tucson, Arizona on May 29th, 2018. It covers the following themes:  

  • Harper's promotion to lieutenant for the second time in the late 1990s and work in Internal Affairs. Code of silence. Increasing police professionalism and the decline of “street justice” after the Rodney King beating. 

  • Harper's work at TPD’s fraud department during the mid-1990s. Fraud in Tucson: con men, fake checks, mortgage fraud, Hezbollah. Rise of personal computers and beginnings of identity theft. 

  • Quintessential Tucson crimes of the 1970s: theft of hood ornaments and CB radios. 

  • Harpers departure from Internal Affairs and move to Violent Crime in early 2000s. Promotion to Captain. 

  • Creation of TPD’s Downtown Division in the mid-2000s. Crime in downtown Tucson and tension between 4th Avenue and downtown merchants associations. 

  • Harper's administration of the Police Academy in the late 2000s. 

  • The shooting death of officer Erik Hite. 

  • Work creating and fundraising for Tucson Police Foundation. 

  • Retirement in 2008. Teaching at UA. 

PeopleAengus Anderson