No police commissioner can spark intense debate more than Ray Kelly, the departing commish of New York City.
Kelly has succeeded wildly on the level of reducing violent crimes in the five boroughs.
Under his leadership, it has again become safe to walk the streets of New York without overtly fearing getting shot, robbed, or assaulted.
Not only that, Kelly has led the city's fight to thwart terrorist attacks during his watch. CBS Sunday Morning suggested that as many as 16 possible attacks were snuffed out. It's fair to say that most, if not all, of these proposed incidents were kept secret from the citizens of New York.
At the same time, NYC's "stop-and-frisk" acts by the police were widely criticized for being excessive and racially targeted. Kelly has not apologized for the tactics, saying that these moves were necessary to keep New Yorkers safe and save lives.
I have lived in Manhattan for most of my adult life and I can't remember a more polarizing issue when it comes to assessing the performance of the NYPD. It is difficult to conclude whether Kelly was completely right or wrong.
It will be interesting to see how New York City and law-enforcement historians write the legacy of Kelly. No other police commissioner had to worry as much about halting terrorism in a city. Kelly, with his global anti-terrorism effort around the world, stepped unto the task.
Now, William Bratton, a former New York police commissioner (as well as in other U.S. cities), takes over for Kelly.
Can Bratton do as well as Kelly in stopping crime in America's biggest city?
Whether or not Bratton does the job, it is probable that he won't have the same level of controversy as his predecessor.
Jon Friedman writes the Media Matrix blog for Indiewire.com. He is also the author of "Forget About Today: Bob Dylan's Genius for (Re)Invention, Shunning the Naysayers, and Creating a Personal Revolution." Read more reports from Jon Friedman — Click Here Now.
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