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Ray Kelly to Lose His 10-Detective Security Detail, Sources Say

By Murray Weiss | November 10, 2014 7:53am
 Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly at a press conference while he was in office.
Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly at a press conference while he was in office.
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DNAinfo/Ben Fractenberg

NEW YORK CITY — Former Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly’s $1.5 million-a-year taxpayer-funded security detail will be coming to an end on New Year’s Day, DNAinfo New York has learned.

Sources say Kelly was recently informed that he would have to be responsible for his own protection starting in January, when the NYPD will no longer provide the 73-year-old with a 10-officer complement of bodyguards, including a lieutenant, three sergeants and six detectives from the Intelligence Division.

With an average annual salary per officer of $140,000, plus overtime, the total taxpayer cost of providing Kelly around-the-clock coverage is estimated to be $1.5 million for the year since he was replaced by Bill Bratton, officials say.

Officials cited threats Kelly received while serving as the city’s top police official during Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s three terms from 2002 through 2013 as the reason for the publicly-funded protection.

Since then, the threat level has subsided and Kelly now earns a purported seven-figure salary as the director for risk management at Cushman Wakefield, the giant real estate firm, and as a media consultant. Barring any unexpected threat, his NYPD security ends at year's end, sources say.

In 1994, when Kelly ended his first stint atop the NYPD, serving 18 months under then-Mayor David Dinkins, the square-jawed ex-Marine took one detective with him as a chauffeur but surrendered the officer after four months.

"On The Inside" was the first to report on Kelly's publicly financed security protection this time around.

The decision to end Kelly's detail was made before a flap last week over Comptroller Scott Stringer's parting of the ways with the members of his own security detail. Stringer's office reportedly initially claimed that he fired four detectives who had been driving him around including Detective Ivan Mercano, who was honored by President Barack Obama after Mercano shot and killed a man robbing a taxi driver despite sustaining gunshot wounds during the battle.

Police officials later insisted the officers had asked for transfers off the detail.

Generally, ex-commissioners eschew city-funded protection or pay for it themselves if they can afford it — or ultimately ask any future private-sector employer to pick up the tab.

Former Commissioner Bernard Kerik, who held the top NYPD post on 9/11, accepted no security after leaving office. His private-sector employer, Giuliani Partners, funded his protection until he was sentenced to four years in prison on corruption charges.

Bill Bratton also declined publicly financed security when he departed the NYPD after his first stint as commissioner.

The only other outgoing police commissioner to accept taxpayer-funded NYPD security after leaving the post was Howard Safir, who led the NYPD for four years before leaving office in August 2000 with a complement of 12 officers.

After seven months, Safir's detail was pared down to a sergeant and seven detectives. At the time, the size of his detail was sharply criticized by NYPD observers and good-government groups.

Bloomberg took virtually his entire contingent of officers with him — about 17 — but they retired from the force and the billionaire mayor hired them at about $150,000 each.