A 43-year veteran of the NYPD (and lifelong New York City resident), Commissioner Kelly has been working for decades to better equip New York’s police force and, by extension, to improve New Yorkers’ quality of life. As police commissioner from 1992 to 1994 under Mayor David Dinkins, Mr. Kelly helped turn around an out-of-control homicide rate, a decline that continued even after the end of his first term. Mr. Kelly also led the NYPD in a successful investigation of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.
A single stint as commissioner just wasn’t enough for Mr. Kelly, who was recruited back to the position in 2002 under Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Since then, he’s championed the controversial stop-and-frisk tactic, which is either the most effective tool the police have or a flimsy excuse to harass people of color, depending on your perspective. Either way, the city has enjoyed its lowest crime rates in generations, gains made all the more impressive because they occurred after Mayor Rudolph Giuliani’s administration had already reduced crime dramatically. Mr. Kelly has also helped make New York safer than ever from threats of terrorism, implementing a New York-based global intelligence system that connects the NYPD to detectives in 11 cities around the world. But that’s not all. Mr. Kelly also started the Real Time Crime Center, which helps detectives find investigative leads by mining millions of computers for data.
Evidently, the people are noticing the positive effects of Mr. Kelly’s efforts. This year, the commissioner’s approval ratings were higher than ever—an astounding 75 percent. The commissioner’s influence can be felt in every neighborhood of the city.