After years of success, New York Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly is going through turbulent times, with a series of troublesome episodes, reports the New York Times. They include officers fixing traffic tickets, running guns, and disparaging civilians on Facebook, and accusations that officers are encouraged to question minorities on the streets indiscriminately. His son has been accused of rape; last week, an officer killed an 18-year-old unarmed drug suspect.
At 70, Kelly has run the 52,000-member department longer than any of the 41 commissioners. Many wonder whether the pileup of scandals and his increasingly authoritarian use of power have diminished his once-towering stature. Kelly has served 11 1/2 years in two tenures. His public approval numbers after years of low crime are high. The Times says that even some who admire Kelly wonder if his long tenure has begun to damage the department. “In many, many ways he's been an outstanding commissioner,” said Eugene O'Donnell, a professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice and a former police officer. “There's a danger in that job in staying too long. I think there should be a six-year term limit to the job.” He added, “I think a lot of what you do after six years is a rerun.”