Nierenberg, Jim

Part 1 of 3 was recorded at Jim Nierenberg’s house in Tucson, Arizona on May 2nd, 2018. It covers the following themes:

b. 1948

  • Childhood in New York City. Early experiences with police. Unintentional advertising career. Deteriorating conditions in 1960s New York.

  • Joining Air Force in 1966 and assignment at Davis Monthan in Tucson that year.

  • Loading Agent Orange on airplanes for defoliating operations in Southern Arizona.

  • Description of Tucson in 1966. Cruising, drive-ins, boondockers. Discovering Arizona. Social connections between Davis Monthan and the University of Arizona. Hitchhiking within city. Drag racing.

  • Air Force base life in the late 1960s. Race riot in barracks. Anti-military sentiment during Vietnam War.

  • Civilian attitudes towards airmen in Tucson.

  • Work at ASARCO in Green Valley in 1970. Threats from mining union.

  • Work as a mechanic at O’Reilly Chevrolet.

  • Connections and friendships with people in Tucson community during police years.

  • Driving Howard Hughes as informal TPD assignment during the 1970s.

  • Joining Tucson Police in 1970. Early years of career. Walking downtown and on the west side.

  • Tucson Police Department in 1970: few police, mandatory helmets and cowboy boots, no air conditioning in cars or portable radios. Cultural difference between older and younger officers.

  • Air force plane crashing into Food Giant supermarket.

  • Pioneer Hotel fire.

  • El Rio Golf Course protests.

Part 2 of 3 was recorded at Jim Nierenberg’s house in Tucson, Arizona on May 14th, 2018. It covers the following themes:

  • Formality of police department in early 1970s under Chief Bill Gilkinson. Relationships between street police and administration. Nierenberg’s arrest of police lieutenants breaking into City Hall to steal a promotion test. General lack of corruption in Tucson Police.

  • Detailed description of Pioneer Hotel fire.

  • Interest in EMT training and firefighting after being unable to help at fire.

  • Dealing with public drunkenness and Veteran’s mental health.

  • Development of TPD’s interest in officers’ mental and emotional health in the 1980s.

  • University of Arizona student protests. Mediating tension between different groups of students in 1970s and 1980s.

  • Park Avenue riots in 1970. Lack of communication between law enforcement agencies.

  • Neighborhoods and crime in the 1970s. South Park. Miracle Mile. Downtown. Far east Tucson.

  • Pizza Hut killings in east Tucson in 1999.

  • Increasing public concern about drunk driving starting in the early 1970s.

  • Emergence of modern domestic violence definition and procedure.

  • Split-second decisions, judgment, and managing emotion.

  • Dealing with guns, real and fake.

  • Early bullet proof vests.

Part 3 of 3 was recorded at Jim Nierenberg’s house in Tucson, Arizona on September 12th, 2018. It covers the following themes:

  • Changing scope and style of background investigations for police hires.

  • Increasing professionalism and dealing with unprofessional officers.

  • Technological changes over Nierenberg’s career.

  • Carrying a personal tape recorder for documentation.

  • Ways in which radios changed police behavior.

  • Increasing regulations and need to holistically understand legal process.

  • Motivation to serve public in 1970s TPD.

  • Experiences as a reserve deputy in Santa Cruz County and Pinal County in the years after TPD service.

  • Pima County Sheriff corruption in 1960s under Waldon Burr.

  • Dysfunctional relationship between City and County services in the 1970s.

  • Police-media relations.

  • Early interpretations of Miranda rights.

  • Diversity and integration at TPD in the 1980s. Difficulty in recruiting minorities. Women in policing.