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Successors to Ray Kelly Are Waiting in the Wings

By Murray Weiss | January 24, 2013 7:19am

NEW YORK CITY - Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly will likely not be around for a fourth term as the city’s top cop if you believe the candidates vying to become the next mayor.

Though City Council Speaker Christine Quinn wants him to continue, most candidates have said that they will select their own man or woman to be the 42nd Police Commissioner. Kelly himself has said he's not sure he even wants to stick around.

Experts tell "On The Inside" the next commissioner will be handed a police force in fine shape. Crime is now at 1960 levels and New York is considered among the country’s safest cities.

But the force of 35,000-cops is not without serious challenges and needs tweaking, if not outright re-engineering.

The NYPD’s stop-and-frisk policies have been sternly rebuked in federal court and have undermined community relations. Civil liberty concerns have also been raised by the NYPD’s intelligence gathering operations. And morale is surprisingly low despite the successes, which the rank-and-file blame on an onerous Machiavellian management.

"On the Inside" has compiled a list of potential successors to Kelly waiting in the wings during the 2013 mayoral race.

WILLIAM BRATTON. Topping any list of candidates must be Bratton, the former NYPD commissioner credited in the 1990s with turning around the department with leadership and strategies that sent crime tumbling.

Previously, Bratton ran the Boston Police Department. He also headed the NYPD transit division before serving as the NYPD’s top cop from 1993 to 1996, when former Mayor Rudy Giuliani forced him out in a clash over the limelight. For the next seven years, Bratton went to the Los Angeles Police Department, where he not only brought down crime, but devised initiatives against urban gang strongholds and picked up anti-terrorism skills that would complement today’s post 9/11 NYPD.

And Bratton is eager for a second shot atop the NYPD, where many of his strategies still thrive.

JOSEPH DUNNE. The former First Deputy Police Commissioner who was passed over by Giuliani in favor of Bernard Kerik has returned to public service in the newly created position of Chief Security Officer of the Port Authority.  Dunne is known as a battle-tested operational commander and a 32-year NYPD veteran with a legacy of building strong community relations. 

► GARRY MCCARTHY. Currently the superintendent of police in Chicago, McCarthy also worked as the top cop for Newark’s Cory Booker for several years after cutting his teeth in the NYPD, where he rose through the ranks to eventually commanded the Deputy Commissioner of Operations Office, which oversees the NYPD's vaunted Compstat program that was originally launched by Bratton.

“Coming back to New York would be relatively easier than what he faces in Chicago,” one former top NYPD police official observed.

► JOHN TIMONEY. Timoney was the NYPD’s First Deputy under Bratton in the 1990s before taking over two major municipal departments — the Philadelphia Police Department and the Miami P.D., where he was credited with restraining a shoot-first ask-questions later cop culture. He is presently a consultant to Bahrain on police tactics and training, dealing with the tumultuous “Arab Spring.”

► JOSEPH D'AMICO. He currently serves as Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s State Police superintendent and was Cuomo’s chief investigator at the Attorney General’s office, is a respected NYPD commander who ran the department’s Real Time Crime Center, worked in the NYPD’s Compstat Unit and has supervised Manhattan detectives.

► PATRICK TIMLIN. Kelly brought Timlin back from the private sector to the NYPD to succeed McCarthy as the NYPD’s Operations boss. He is a lawyer and a former top NYPD detective and patrol supervisor. After two years back on the force, Timlin returned to a high-profile private security job.

► JOSEPH ESPOSITO. The well-like and respected NYPD Chief of Department for the past decade is being forced to retire in March due to reaching the mandatory retirement age of 63.

All the above candidates have strong qualifications, but they also have something else in common — they are all white men.

If the next mayor feels the need to select a minority, several names may surface, sources say.

► CHARLES RAMSEY. The Philadelphia police chief since 2008, Ramsey also ran the Washington D.C. force from 1998 to 2006. Before heading to the nation’s capital, Ramsey spent several decades in the Chicago PD.

► PHILIP BANKS. The NYPD Chief of Community Affairs and a former Brooklyn commander.

► ART ACEVEDO. A native of Cuba, Acevedo has been the top cop in Austin, Texas, for the past six years, scoring high marks for community relations as well for crime-fighting.

► JOANNE JAFFE. An NYPD veteran who presently serves as its Housing Bureau Chief could be a longshot.

It should be noted that the NYPD Commissioner's job is a "civilian" position and there often have been appointments who have no direct police experience. For example, Mayor Ed Koch selected Robert McGuire, a lawyer whose father was a former NYPD chief, to run the NYPD.

McGuire turned out to be one of the department’s finest and smartest leaders, maximizing a force of only 25,000 cops while embracing a philosophy of transparency that well served the community as well as NYPD.