After two stints as police commissioner, including the last 12 years under Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Ray Kelly is in what are expected to be his final few days at One Police Plaza. NY1's Dean Meminger sat down with him for a wide-ranging talk about terrorism, crime, and Kelly's legacy. The following is Part 2 of his report on that interview.
The time has come for Ray Kelly to hang up his police commissioner title. But don't expect for him to disappear into the sunset.
"I love the department -- I've been here for 45 years," Kelly says . "I guess it is a bittersweet moment. but it's time to move on. I still want to do some things while I can still do things, if you know what I mean."
At 72 years old, Kelly remains active and fit. He says the challenges of heading up the country's largest police department have been energizing.
"For me it's been a terrific experience," says Kelly. "It's been a great run, as they say. I think people in New York should know they have the finest police department anywhere, that the men and women are committed to making the city safe and keeping it safe. And you can feel it, it's palpable."
Crime, especially the murder rate, has dropped drastically over the last 12 years. There are several factors that contribute to that, but Kelly points to proactive policing.
But he admits that even he is pleasantly surprised by the major decrease in crime.
"If you said to me in January 2002, 'Hey, you are going to have a 6,000-person reduction in your head count, and crime is going down to record low numbers,' I would haven't believed it," he says.
But now he says the NYPD can push crime rates down even more.
"I think we have a lot of great people," Kelly says of the department. "I think we have some really good programs put in place. I want to live here, I want this to remain the safest big city in America, and I believe it will."
Asked if he'll miss the power of the office, Kelly says, "I will miss the people, that's obvious. There's a lot of bonding that goes on with all the years in the department. But as I say, I'm ready to do different things."
And asked if he would come back in two or four years if he got the call to be police commissioner of New York City or elsewhere, Kelly says with a smile:
"No this is it for me. I think it's time for the private sector."