Listen MPR 50: Tony Bouza's colorful time as Minneapolis police chief
Listen From the archives: Tony Bouza talks Mpls. policing in 1981
Throughout 2017, Minnesota Public Radio will celebrate 50 years on the air by sharing highlights from our archives, connecting Minnesota's past to its present. | These two stories originally aired in October 1987.
One of the more colorful and controversial public figures we have covered over the last 50 years is former Minneapolis police chief Tony Bouza, who led the department from 1980 to 1989.
Bouza was born in Spain and grew up in Brooklyn. Before coming to Minneapolis, he was the commander of police in the Bronx and deputy chief of the New York City transit police.
In 1981, Bouza talked to MPR News host Bob Potter about his accomplishments since his appointment a year earlier by then-Mayor Don Fraser.
Bouza said in the interview that he had a "depoliticized" police department. By that, he meant that the mayor didn't have a say in staffing decisions — that was the chief's job.
"I make the decisions. I am the president of the corporation. Donald Fraser is the chairman of the board. He gives me my direction. He gives me policy. But he does not tinker with the inner workings of the engine," Bouza said in '81.
Bouza, the author of books including "Expert Witness: Breaking the Policemen's Blue Code of Silence," still lives in Minneapolis. He ran for governor as a Democrat in 1994.
Hear Bouza discuss policing by using the audio player above.