Tony Bouza

Tony Bouza has served as a police chief, a gaming commissioner, briefly as a politician, and is the author of several books on policing and criminal justice. He has been writing for Southside Pride for several years.


Click this link to read the latest collection of Tony Bouza’s essays:

More Lessons Learned by Tony Bouza


Click this link to see the award-winning 1977 documentary “The Police Tapes” featuring Bronx Borough Commander Tony Bouza: The Police Tapes

Good days, bad days

BY TONY BOUZA The days of our lives are numbered. But, short of suicide, we don’t know what that number is. My best estimate would be 26,645 days (73 X 365). So, what to make of it? As I think on it a very few items stand out—triumphs and disasters.…

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Why are we here?

BY TONY BOUZA Managing a police department is not nuclear science or even brain surgery. It is about managing—i.e., Why are we here? What are we supposed to do? And how best to do it, cheaply? Capitalism at its purest. So why is it so damnably difficult to get them…

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I hear voices

BY TONY BOUZA America has always spoken to me. Its powerful culture overwhelmed me on my arrival from Spain on Dec. 22, 1937, at nine and a half years old. I embraced the movies, songs, magazines, comic books, etc.—and unconsciously rejected everything I came from. And those voices? What follows…

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Ugly truths

BY TONY BOUZA The Floyd case is marvelously instructive for all the awful lessons it provides. A latter-day “Rashomon.” Racism is number one, but forgive me, not the issue that grabs me. I monitored the Chauvin-types very carefully through Internal Affairs and gave the others ample room for caution in…

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Gun control

BY TONY BOUZA We are the only Western country that regularly awakens to news of slaughters of our children by idiots with ridiculously easy access to all forms of firearms. In the aftermath of these awful and preventable events (we do regulate and license vehicles and a lot of other…

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Abortion – still and again

BY TONY BOUZA Hubris is my foe. I strive to persuade Erica that she married a moron and worm, albeit one with a great memory. I fancy that our core problems are racism and income inequality. They impact everything. Even Roe v. Wade? That created a pause; then I remembered…

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Post-Floyd life

BY TONY BOUZA Two years, plus, it’s time to review the results of George Floyd’s killing. It certainly sparked a debate. Also riots, trials, a movement and a lot of hand-wringing and national anguish. Looking back we can see a vast emptiness. Mostly wasted time. I’d credit the Ivy League…

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Intelligence versus wisdom

BY TONY BOUZA The recent turmoil surrounding New York’s governor is a wonderful example of the lessons the Greek ancients tried hard to teach us. But we are slow learners. Andrew Cuomo is the smartest guy in the state. Honest. I grew up with guys like that. Not many, but…

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America’s foremost institution

BY TONY BOUZA I’m given to hyperbole. Can’t seem to help it. “Best this,” “greatest that,” whatever. The U. S. has earned my devoted study. It has, to put it modestly, really lifted me out of certain defeat. No small feat. I owe this great country. So, what would a…

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Oedipus the King

BY TONY BOUZA The Greeks were the finest expression of civilization ever. Why? Because they made their citizens better humans. How? By cautioning against hubris (pride) and avoiding hamartia (the critical flaw). The antidote? Merciless introspection. Oedipus was the toughest, smartest, most admirable—yet, came a cropper, wandering blindly in the…

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How to get rich

BY TONY BOUZA Grinding poverty concentrates the mind powerfully. If you’re so smart, why aren’t you rich? Money talks … We live in a merciless capitalist society. You’re either at the table or on the menu. My reaction to such cruelty? Bravo! There’s never been a more generous economic idea…

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Voilà, a vacancy

BY TONY BOUZA The sitting (and I use the term advisedly) Chief of Police capped a distinguished police career with his greatest feat—the announcement of his departure. Mirabile dictu! In my insufferable hubris (“That Tony Bouza, he sure is full of himself, isn’t he?”—overheard one wag to another) I hasten…

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Accountability and other myths

BY TONY BOUZA America is in the throes of an agonizing debate—police reform—and it has no answers. Yet that’s how the U.S. tackles its problems—and often solves them—through heated fulminations and some final distillations into changes. The biggest problems—today—are racism and income disparity. George Floyd launched the discussion on race…

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Free speech

BY TONY BOUZA What a facile phrase. Rolls off the tongue so easily we fail to concentrate on its miraculous value. Americans profess it promiscuously, but I’ve found that, when push comes to shove, few really believe in it enough to risk anything meaningful, unless it applies to them. An…

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The MPD budget

BY TONY BOUZA The Minneapolis Police Department budget document itself is a turgid piece of bureaucratic invention intended to obfuscate and mislead you into thinking your $200 million is being sensibly spent. It ain’t. The pages are replete with references to how sedulously they monitor and invest your dollars, how…

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