New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly’s most embarrassing moment during a City Council hearing this week occurred when a council member called him “Commissioner Bratton,” says Newsday columnist Leonard Levitt. “He’s not here,” Kelly said. Levitt says Kelly has never forgiven William Bratton for succeeding him as commissioner in 1994 after new mayor Rudolph Giuliani fired him. The last time Bratton came through town, Kelly refused to take his call.
Since returning as commissioner in 2002, Kelly has also dissed the FBI, the Police Benevolent Association and, most recently, the Fire Department. According to a terrorism expert, he has also dissed the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, which has pointed to Los Angeles as a city whose police and fire departments do get along. According to the official, New York’s failure to adapt a coherent disaster protocol is a reason the feds have held back disaster aid. The man Kelly has come to emulate is a man he professes to despise – Giuliani. Like Giuliani, he insists on making every decision. In so doing, he has rendered his top brass impotent, Levitt says. Kelly has a special relationship with Mayor Michael Bloomberg, making him the most powerful commissioner in memory. His presence in the city is now so ubiquitous that he has become a combination 800-pound gorilla and King Kong.