Vigilance: My Life Serving America and Protecting Its Empire City

Vigilance: My Life Serving America and Protecting Its Empire City

Language: English

Pages: 336

ISBN: 0316383813

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


Two-time New York City police commissioner Ray Kelly opens up about his remarkable life, taking us inside fifty years of law enforcement leadership, offering chilling stories of terrorist plots after 9/11, and sharing his candid insights into the challenges and controversies cops face today.

The son of a milkman and a Macy's dressing room checker, Ray Kelly grew up on New York City's Upper West Side, a middle-class neighborhood where Irish and Puerto Rican kids played stickball and tussled in the streets. He entered the police academy and served as a marine in Vietnam, living and fighting by the values that would carry him through a half century of leadership-justice, decisiveness, integrity, courage, and loyalty.

Kelly soared through the NYPD ranks in decades marked by poverty, drugs, civil unrest, and a murder rate that, at its peak, spiked to over two thousand per year. Kelly came to be known as a tough leader, a fixer who could go into a troubled precinct and clean it up. That reputation catapulted him into his first stint as commissioner, under Mayor David Dinkins, where Kelly oversaw the police response to the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and spearheaded programs that would help usher in the city's historic drop in crime.

Eight years later, in the chaotic wake of the 9/11 attacks, newly elected mayor Michael Bloomberg tapped Kelly to be NYC's top cop once again. After a decade working with Interpol, serving as undersecretary of the Treasury for enforcement, overseeing U.S. Customs, and commanding an international police force in Haiti, Kelly understood that New York's security was synonymous with our national security. Believing that the city could not afford to rely solely on "the feds," he succeeded in transforming the NYPD from a traditional police department into a resource-rich counterterrorism-and-intelligence force.

In this vital memoir, Kelly reveals the inside stories of his life in the hot seat of "the capital of the world"-from the terror plots that nearly brought a city to its knees to his dealings with politicians, including Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama as well as Mayors Rudolph Giuliani, Bloomberg, and Bill DeBlasio. He addresses criticisms and controversies like the so-called stop-question-and-frisk program and the rebuilding of the World Trade Center and offers his insights into the challenges that have recently consumed our nation's police forces, even as the need for vigilance remains as acute as ever.

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A Matter of Principle
















UF-250, noting that the suspected crime was burglary. In a preliminary ruling on August 31, 2011, Judge Scheindlin found that the police officers did, in fact, have reason to be suspicious and therefore the stop was legal, but that wasn’t the end of the case. She said the plaintiffs’ class-action suit could continue anyway. “There is a triable issue of fact as to whether the NYPD leadership has been deliberately indifferent to the need to train, monitor, supervise, and discipline its officers

the best of intentions, the U.S. Department of Defense began dispersing surplus military equipment to police agencies across America. It was vehicles at first, Jeeps and Humvees, even a few armored weapons carriers. Once the program got started, the variety of equipment kept expanding. No one forced the police to use this stuff. But human nature being what it is, a Humvee sitting in a police station parking lot is extremely unlikely to remain there long. The optics were terrible. All that heavy

an ambulance arrived. The two men and the woman had all come out of a bar and got into some kind of argument. She said the shooting was intentional. The men said it was an accident. A kind lieutenant at the Sixth Precinct, Al LaPerch, helped me process the arrest. The doctors said the tourniquet saved the woman’s leg. I felt good about that, and the night’s adventure was written up in the Daily News. A couple of months later, I made another arrest, this time in the middle of the day in the

Crown Heights were finally under control. This turned out to be wishful thinking. After the press conference he was driven to P.S. 167, an elementary school on Eastern Parkway in the heart of Crown Heights, for a meeting with Mayor Dinkins. As the commissioner’s car arrived at the elementary school, a group of young people broke away from the crowd, surrounded the vehicle, and began pelting it with rocks. A 10-13, assist police officer, call for “Car One” was broadcast over the radio, and police

business, I brought in Charles DiRienzo as the commission’s executive director. Charlie was affable, meticulous—just perfect for the job. I had worked with him in the 88th Precinct and he had helped reorganize the 106th Precinct after the stun gun scandal. He’d retired as an inspector and was running the fraud division of the New York State Insurance Department. So he already knew something about state government and happened to have a deep knowledge of boxing. With Charlie’s help I was eager to

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