Within hours of Janet Napolitano’s announcement of her resignation as secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, names of people to replace her surfaced, but none have the credentials of NYPD Commissioner Raymond Kelly (shown). Or his political connections. Said Senator Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.):
The Department of Homeland Security is one of the most important agencies in the federal government. Its leader needs to be someone who knows law enforcement, understands anti-terrorism efforts, and is a top-notch administrator, and at the NYPD, Ray Kelly has proven that he excels in all three.…
There is no doubt Ray Kelly would be a great DHS Secretary, and I have urged the White House to very seriously consider his candidacy. While it would be New York’s loss, Commissioner Kelly’s appointment as the head of DHS would be a great boon for the entire country. Janet Napolitano has done an outstanding job, and if I had to give her a grade on her tenure, it would be "A+". We need someone just as good who can fill her shoes.
If Kelly is nominated and passes scrutiny in the Senate, not only would he fill Napolitano’s shoes, he would greatly expand their size and reach. When Schumer touted Kelly to replace FBI Director Robert Mueller back in 2010, he said that “Kelly is the preeminent law enforcement person in the country. He knows more about this than anyone … his anti-terrorism experience is second to none.”
Kelly’s first challenge as NYPD commissioner under Mayor David Dinkins in 1990 was to overcome suspicion that he had unfairly been promoted ahead of people with more experience. After less than seven months on a street beat, Kelly was promoted to first deputy over several three-star bureau chiefs and a four-star chief of department, Robert Johnston. In fact, the previous police commissioner, Lee Brown had to do some hierarchical readjusting in order to prevent Johnston from having to report to his former subordinate.
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Photo of NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly: AP Images