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Five Minutes With . . . Bernard Kerik

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Friday, 14 Jul 2017 11:51 AM

Bernard Kerik's career in law enforcement has been a rollercoaster ride. He ran New York City’s jails, then served as the city’s police commissioner and, following the 2003 invasion of Iraq, President George W. Bush appointed him as interim minister of interior of Iraq. Kerik later served more than three years in federal prison for criminal conspiracy and tax fraud.

Now a law enforcement consultant and advocate for criminal justice reform, 61-year-old Kerik also has added author to his résumé with his memoir “From Jailer to Jailed: My Journey from Correction and Police Commissioner to Inmate #84888-054,” published by Threshold Editions.

Newsmax sat down with Kerik to talk cop dramas, highlights from his days on the force, and details on his newest "too hot for network television" endeavor.

Newsmax: You were police commissioner of New York City on 9/11. Twenty-three members of your department were killed that day. How did that change you as a person?

Bernard Kerik: Most importantly, it taught me to never take life for granted and that, in times of crisis and adversity, you can get through anything when you put your mind to it.

NM: Most Americans' perceptions of law enforcement are shaped by TV shows like “CSI,” “Law & Order,” and “Orange Is the New Black,” to name a few. How accurate are these shows? Which are your favorites?

BK: The stories on "Law & Order" are actually pulled from the New York City tabloids and dramatized for television, as are stories in "Blue Bloods" and some other police television series. Most are actually watered down for network viewing, so I’m not too big of a fan. I thought “Hill Street Blues” and “NYPD Blue” years ago gave a closer view of reality in the police world. “Orange Is the New Black,” although fictionalized for TV, clearly demonstrates many of the realistic flaws and failures in today’s criminal justice system. It’s one show that I wish every member of Congress watched to get a better idea of how we waste taxpayer dollars and destroy American lives needlessly.

NM: You’ve witnessed a lot of changes in law enforcement over the years. How have things changed under President Donald Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions?

BK: I think, for the first time in close to a decade, we now have a president and attorney general who sincerely care about the men and women in local, state, and federal law enforcement, which should motivate and inspire the law enforcement community, rather than demoralize them.

NM: We hear it on good authority that you’re writing a crime thriller and we can’t wait to read it. Can you give us some clues as to what it’s about?

BK: Look out "Blue Bloods"! A fictional New York City police commissioner gets personally involved in the hunt for an international terrorist determined to destroy New York City. Too hot for network television, but if you’re into good versus evil and the international intrigue of hunting down and killing those who want the demise of our country, I think you’ll love the book.

NM: Why did you become a cop in the first place?

BK: Cops are the “good guys,” and they have been since I can remember. I have a picture that’s in my first book, “The Lost Son,” where I’m about 3 years old. I’m wearing a cop's hat, a holster, and carrying a gun. When people ask when I started my career, I point to that photo and say, “I started pretty young.”

NM: What book has had the most impact on your life?

BK: I can’t say that there’s one in particular over others, but Rudy Giuliani’s “Leadership,” President George W. Bush’s “Decision Points,” Elie Wiesel’s “Night,” and Randy Pausch’s “Last Lecture” are some of my favorites.

NM: You’ve seen a lot of bizarre things in policing over the years. Can you recall one of the weirdest moments of your police career?

BK: When a cop delivers a baby, it’s definitely not the norm, and there were four or five moms that delivered babies in a welfare hotel in Midtown back in the late '80s.

NM: What’s your idea of a perfect meal?

BK: Without going through an entire menu . . . picture a Thanksgiving dinner and throw in biscuits and cornbread and I’m happy.

NM: Are body cameras on cops a good idea?

BK: I think they are and, in due time, the cops and police unions will realize that the cops will be better off with them than without them.

NM: If you had not been a cop, what would have been your second career choice?

BK: I joined the U.S. Army when I was 18 years old. Had I not gone into law enforcement, I think I would have stayed in the military.

NM: What is a hobby of yours that people may be surprised at?

BK: Besides being involved in the martial arts for more than 40 years and lifting weights and working out, I have few hobbies. However, it has surprised many of my friends when they see a guitar case sitting in my office and I open it and there’s a Gibson 12 String Acoustic Guitar. I’ve played since I was a young boy, but the older I get, the less I play.

NM: And finally, Bernie, if Hollywood were to make a biopic based on your life, who would you want to play you – as a young man and in present day?

BK: Now, it would have to be my friend Sylvester Stallone. We’ve talked about this, and he told me that if anyone is going to do my life story, it’s got to be a mini-series because you can’t sum up my life in a two-hour movie. That said, as for someone playing me when I was young — who knows. It would probably be a combination of a young Jason Statham and Dominic Purcell.

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Newsmax sat down with Kerik to talk cop dramas, highlights from his days on the force, and details on his newest "too hot for network television" endeavor.
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Friday, 14 Jul 2017 11:51 AM
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