Is Ray Kelly’s NYPD Spinning Out of Control?

Between racist cops, rape cops, ticket-fixers, gun-runners and 'white shirts' gone wild, New York's Finest are losing their shine. Is the commissioner to blame?

The NYPD questioned and/or frisked 97,296 people in 2002, according to the New York Civil Liberties Union. In the first six months of this year, the NYPD stopped 362,150 people, putting it on pace to top all previous records. Of that number, 88 percent were found to be innocent of any crime, and 91 percent were people of color.

“From the borough command to the precincts, they put the pressure on officers to produce the numbers,” said a high-ranking cop. “And [officers] stop people who don’t need to be stopped.”

As a result of all the scandals, some are now calling for a total revamp of the department. “I hesitate to say to bring in a corporate person, but they got to bring in a culture change, and it won’t be a cop,” said Eugene O’Donnell, a professor at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice.

“The leadership always has to be held accountable,” insisted Mr. Mullins of the seargeants’ association. “If we are going to hold the people at the bottom accountable for a condition that existed for many, many years, it goes all the way to the top.”

Which isn’t to say that the commissioner is worried. After all, a friend said, the man has survived Vietnam and 25 different commands in the NYPD.

“Whatever comes his way, he just responds,” the friend added. “There are always going to be issues, just like there would be with any huge work force with any industry.”

On October 19, Quinnipiac University polled New York voters on possible mayoral candidates. A quarter of them said they would elect Mr. Kelly, the highest out of all likely candidates for the 2013 race.