Ray Kelly will soon be stepping down as New York’s police commissioner. While he gets near universal kudos for presiding over law enforcement in a city with crime at record lows, he also has his share of critics who fault him for the way he managed the NYPD’s crime fighting effort, particularly its stop and frisk program.
Any successes, it is claimed, came at the expense of people of color who were targeted for special scrutiny and that, in any event, stop and frisk was not the principal reason for the low crime rate. Inasmuch as New York Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio has vowed to substantially revise the procedure, we will soon know more about the efficacy of stop and frisk.
During Ray Kelly’s tenure, New Yorkers did not fear to walk the streets and murder rates were lower than at any time in memory, and these are no mean achievements. But Mr. Kelly is not just about a specific program or statistic. His unflappable demeanor complemented a high intelligence and passionate commitment to governmental service. He holds the rank of colonel in the Marine Corps Reserve, was undersecretary for enforcement at the Treasury Department where he had supervisory responsibilities over the Customs Service, the Secret Service and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, among others, and holds two law degrees and a masters in public administration from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.
It should also be noted that Mr. Kelly was always cognizant of the many cultural differences in play in polyglot New York and sought to sensitize police personnel accordingly.
New York City owes a lot to Ray Kelly and The Jewish Press wishes him well in his future endeavors.