8:32 am Feb. 27, 20121
Police commissioner Ray Kelly dismissed criticism of NYPD policy from some mayoral candidates as the predictable "pandering" of an election season, in appearance on WOR radio this morning.
Kelly joined his friend Peter King, the Long Island congressman and chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, who was guest-hosting for John Gambling.
King said he was dismayed by the rhetoric coming from some of the candidates for mayor and wondered "what kind of city they want to create."
He referred to a City Councilman who said people in his district are more frightened by the NYPD than they are of drug dealers. (He could also have been referring to Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, who expressed that sentiment in a rally calling for an end to the department's stop-and-frisk policy over the weekend.)
"I find those remarks absolutely disgraceful," said King.
"Absolutely," said Kelly. "Well, you know, pandering is going on, that's the season that we're entering now."
Kelly cited a 50 percent reduction in murders during the "Bloomberg decade," to 5,430 murders.
"Of course the vast majority of those lives, the history indicates, are people of color, young men of color, for the most part," he said.
Kelly said part of the problem was a lack of leadership in the communities that have been most heavily affected by violence.
"I don't hear people talking about the violence on the street," he said. "They're not talking--there is no leadership that I'm hearing, with a few exceptions."
King also criticized the media for using the word "spying" with regard to the NYPD's sprawling counter-terrorism efforts, and urged the media to "show some responsibility" and use words like "surveillance" instead.
"It puts a cloud over what you're trying to do, and that's why I worry about the campaign and whoever the next mayor happens to be, if it's against the backdrop of a spying charge," King said.
"Yeah, it's a pejorative term," Kelly said. "It sells well. As I say, they forget we've been the subject of 14 plots here since 9/11."
The interview wasn't exactly a grilling, with King stating at the outset that he considered Kelly "the most dedicated public servant I've ever known."
Kelly said, as he has before, that in the course of its intelligence-gathering activicties the department was doing everything "pursuant to the law," and added that the department has "a cadre of first-rate attorneys that vet everything that we do."
He defended the broad reach of the department's anti-terror efforts, which have drawn criticism in recent weeks after reports detailed the department surveilling suspects in other jurisdictions.
"It would be folly for us to focus only on the five boroughs of New York," Kelly said. "We have to use all of our resources to protect everyone. We're protecting the metropolitan area."