Former police chief Tony Bouza is coping marvelously, not moping, after becoming arguably the second most sexy Spaniard in the metro. "Mope" is one of the words Bouza uses to describe himself, as he continues to reject any portrayal of himself as "superior in sense and in any activity," although he obviously remains the most colorful, pensive and magniloquent top cop Minneapolis and perhaps Minnesota has ever seen.

In 1980, Tony Bouza left the NYPD to come reform a Minneapolis Police Department overflowing with hubris. There were strong elements of racism that alienated minority communities, which had reason to fear cops with an unchecked sense of entitlement when it came to administering police brutality. As you will see in this Q&A, Bouza claims to have been practically unemployable at the NYPD, and he thinks life is a struggle. His partner in the struggle is his droll wife of 54 years, Erica, who says her husband needed a wedding deadline because he was too happy living with his mother.

Q What do you think of the Civilian Review Authority being under the control of the police department? Do police have the ability to police themselves?

A There are civilian review boards all over the United States and there is not a single one that works. Police do have the power to control themselves but they don't. There's not a single reform chief anywhere in America. I've just written an article called "America's Police are Out of Control" for Southside Pride, a local free newspaper that published obscure tracks by incompetents like me.

Q What is the most illegal thing you've ever done?"

A That's a very good question, but I would never answer it. The questions are your problem; the answers are mine. If someone were to ask me, "What is the most embarrassing thing you've ever done?" "What's the most shameful thing you've ever done?" I would simply refuse to answer and say: "That's why I haven't written a memoir."

Q Ever run a red light?

A Yes. As Voltaire said, there has never been a crime of which I did not feel myself capable. That's a very interesting philosophical rumination for me, and I believe it's true. I believe the human animal is capable of some very noble and heroic acts, and some very ignoble and tawdry, shameful things. I find myself very human in that regard.

Q Are speeding tickets written in part to raise money for municipalities?

A I don't think so. I've never felt any pressure on that front. The money's nice; nobody turns it back. ... I pressed very hard for very strict enforcement of the traffic laws. So we wrote an awful lot of tickets when I was chief. When I left there were some general complaints that the revenue had dropped off.

Q Have you ever been pulled over and played the "Don't you know who I am" card?

A Have I ever exploited the brotherhood in blue? Sure.

Q Should marijuana be decriminalized; and if it were, how would that change the usage of police resources?

A It's effectively decriminalized as we speak. Nobody worries much about small amounts of marijuana for personal use anymore. All that [does] is bring it to the level of drinking and smoking.

Q If I ran the world, about 90 percent of the people who wanted to become cops would be automatically excluded from consideration. There seem to be a lot of police officers who get into the work to bust heads first and protect and serve never. Is my percentage too high or too low?

A I think it's a mistaken idea, the notion that policing attracts psychos and alcoholics and thumpers. It's the institution that produces them. Don't underestimate the power of the institution to condition its inmates. The people we recruit are no different from the people the Catholic Church recruits as priests. What happens is the institution conditions and trains them. It gives them power for which they're not held to account, and they're going to abuse that power. And it's not a job, it's a calling. The brotherhood in blue encompasses blacks and women and whites and everyone.

Q What is so difficult about teaching members of the U.S. military to respect the Qur'an?

A It's a cultural thing. How do you control an organization that does not want to be controlled? That's the issue, whether it's the Army or policing. I controlled the Minneapolis Police Department for the nine years I was chief. But I controlled them by terror. They were afraid of me. They knew when I threatened them, I meant it, and I was going to carry it out. If you take a few and [figuratively] execute them publicly, the rest get the message. The only way you can control the Army is through terror. If they are terrified of you, they'll do what you tell them to do. They won't like you. You're not going to change their attitudes, but you can change their behavior.

Q I am not suggesting that police are dolts, but have you ever met a police chief with a better vocabulary and command of the language than yours?

A I love the English language. I came from Spain at the age of 9, and gradually as I awakened to the beauties of Shakespeare and the great poets I became enamored of the language and its opportunities for thought. The more words you have, the deeper you're thinking. I frankly refuse to accept the vision of me as superior in any sense, in any activity. I've never considered myself anything but kind of a mope, staggering from place to place trying to do my best. By the time I came to Minneapolis I was practically unemployable. I was a pain in the ass and a maverick. No, I don't have a high opinion of myself. Life is a struggle and I need to continue to struggle. I've never been the smartest person in the room. I can prove it by tests.

Q What's it like to be the second most sexy Spaniard in the Twin Cities?

A Ricky Rubio -- I'd love to meet him. Second? The "closest to death," I would label myself. That team [the Timberwolves] is pretty exciting. The prospects are amazing. The Knicks surround themselves with a universe of enormously expensive stars and their record is appalling. And the Wolves are around .500. Unfortunately, in Minnesota there is a mysterious and inexplicable predilection for anterior cruciate ligament damage. It must be the soil or the air. I mean, Adrian Peterson, Ricky Rubio. Horrifying.

Q What is your favorite TV police drama?

A Police dramas are to policing what concentrated orange juice is to orange juice. It's a concentration of all the excitement of policing, leaving out all of the boredom in between. There is not a single police drama that I think is realistic.

Q Favorite police movie?

A I guess "Serpico." I know Serpico, although I didn't know him well. I knew him well enough.

Q I also really like "Prince of the City."

A Robert Daley wrote a number of police books. I'm briefly mentioned in one of them called "Target Blue," another true account of the internal workings of the police and drug enforcement in New York.

Q Ever felt the urge to pen your own police screenplay?

A Sure. I've written millions of words, eight books on policing which were published, two or three novels that were not. To this very day I continue to write about policing, so it's an obsessive interest.

Q A racy police movie is what I'm looking for from you.

A I have written two novels, roman a clef, which means they deal with real events in a fictionalized view. Lots of sex. You should read them. You are clearly in need of inspiration.

Q You've been married how long?

A In May it will be 55 years. We married on May 18, 1957, the day after her 25th birthday. She was in a complete hysterical state about being married by the age of 25. But I was not able to manage it, so I married her the day after. I was really trying to do my best [to meet her deadline] -- that's the story of my life -- but failing.

Q Erica had her work cut out for her, huh?

A Who I am today is largely due to Erica's efforts. She was and is a tremendously important influence in my life, a wonderful mother and wife, devoted, honest, truthful. [They raised two sons, Tony Jr., who does very "well" in California, according to his dad, and Dominick Bouza, the operations director of the Salvation Army's Northern Division, who "does good."] I think we have sort of staggered along, but if you asked me what is the most important single feature, it was that divorce was never an option. I believe if you make the commitment, then you really have to stick to it. If you don't, your word is meaningless. So we will celebrate our 55th wedding anniversary in May, if we survive.

Interviews are edited for space and clarity. C.J. is at 612.332.TIPS or and on Fox 9 "Buzz" shows Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.