Christian, Jim

This interview is part 1 of 3 and was recorded at the base of Tumamoc Hill in Tucson, Arizona on April 12th, 2018. It covers the following themes: 

  • b. 1949 

  • Family history in Tucson, extending to the 1880s. Father’s work as Pima County Treasurer before and after World War II.   

  • Description of growing up near Campbell and Prince. Importance of extended family. Moving outward from the center of the city. 

  • Childhood freedom of movement and social life. School at Immaculate Heart and Salpointe. Catholicism. Bullying. 

  • Early interest in policing. Uncle’s work as a motorcycle officer for the Tucson Police Department in the 1920s. Russell and Sheldon Bike and Motorcycle shop. 

  • The beginning of television and a visit to the KGUN studio. 

  • Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts in the 1950s.  

  • Davis Monthan and Tucson International Airport. 

  • Cochise Junior College in 1968. 

  • First jobs: mechanic, road crew, attempted Air Force enlistment, Pima County sign shop. 

  • The Pima County Sheriff’s Department in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Reserve Deputies and training. Tensions between career and volunteer deputies and between TPD and the Sheriff’s Department.  

  • Description of work as a Sheriff’s Reserve officer. Patrolling Mt. Lemmon. 

  • Starting at the South Tucson Police in 1973, initial work as a dispatcher and jailer. 

  • South Tucson bar scene. Spanish Trail Hotel, El Casino Ballroom, curb service alcohol. 

  • First patrol with little training or preparation. 

  • Decriminalization of public drunkenness. 

  • Working in South Tucson as a non-Spanish speaker. 

  • Relationship between South Tucson and Tucson Police departments in the 1970s. 

  • Work as an identification officer. 

  • Keeping Mike and Mark Norman, of Lil’ Abner’s Steakhouse, in the South Tucson jail. 

  • Accidental shooting between Tucson and South Tucson police in 1978. Civil lawsuit by injured TPD officer contributes to South Tucson insolvency. 

  • Trends in South Tucson Police from 1973 to 1982. 

This interview is part 2 of 3 and was recorded at at the base of Tumamoc Hill in Tucson, Arizona on April 19th, 2018. It covers the following themes:

  • Christian’s move to the University of Arizona Police in 1982. Being treated as a security guard.

  • Work at the Tucson Airport Authority in 1983. Airport security in the early 1980s. Patrolling Ryan Field. 

  • Move to the Tucson Police Department in 1984. Experience getting trained as a lateral hire. Difference between Tucson and South Tucson. 

  • Patrolling Western Hills and The Vistas in the mid-1980s and midtown in the late 1980s. Changing nature of gang violence. Early computers.  

  • Trends in policing and Tucson Police culture from the mid-1980s to 2005.  

  • Introduction of the handheld radio. 

  • The Tucson drug world of the 1980s. 

  • Adam 1 team in west Tucson in the 1980s. 

  • Multiple heart attacks in the 1980s and 1990s. Stress of working in law enforcement. 

  • Detective work in the 1990s. Low priority of financial crimes, elder abuse, child abuse, and auto theft.  

  • Hand injury in 2004, medical retirement in 2005. 

  • Life after being a police officer. Work as City of Tucson zoning inspector. 

This interview is part 3 of 3 and was recorded at the base of Tumamoc Hill in Tucson, Arizona on April 26th, 2018. It covers the following themes: 

  • Stress and mental health as a police officer. 

PeopleAengus Anderson