Democrat Bill de Blasio says that if he becomes mayor, Police Commissioner Kelly will be out of a job, and with de Blasio showing a commanding lead in the polls, it raises the question: What challenges would a new commissioner face? NY1's Dean Meminger filed the following report.
With a department of around 55,000 employees, more than half of them uniformed officers, a new New York City police commissioner will have a massive army of law enforcement to work with, and a lot of work to do in keeping crime at its historic lows.
"No one in the city is going to tolerate not being able to ride the subways again, or better yet, not being able to get to the subway," said Rob Gibbons, a criminal justice professor at Monroe College, and a retired NYPD lieutenant and commanding officer.
Gibbons says that during the last 12 years, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly has become a superstar when it comes to fighting crime and terror, a big problem for whoever succeeds him.
"Love him or hate him, he's an international chart topper," Gibbons said. "That's a tough act to follow."
Richard Aborn of the Citizens Crime Commission agrees, saying that a new commissioner has a slim margin of error when it comes to keeping crime in check.
"Now, of course, there will be some fluctuations in crime. That always happens," Aborn said. "But the number one challenge is to fight crime."
A close second is community relations, especially in the neighborhoods of color upset over stop, question and frisk. The Citizens Crime Commission says that the next commissioner must be tough, but must also be perceived as sensitive to community concerns.
"Probably the single greatest crime-fighting tool is a close-knit relationship between the community and the police, so that is something the new police commissioner's going to have to take on, and take on rapidly," Aborn said.
The commissioner would also have to rapidly build a bond with his or her new boss, the mayor.
"So the new mayor, it depends on the relationship and the confidence he has in the person he chose," Gibbons said. "Is he choosing the most qualified candidate? Is he choosing the most politically correct candidate? Is he choosing a bowling partner?"
If there is a new commissioner, another question is whether that person will have complete control at the NYPD like Kelly does, or if a new mayor want to have a hand in policing the city.