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23 Dec, 2013 21:53

​NYPD commissioner Kelly joins powerful foreign policy think-tank

​NYPD commissioner Kelly joins powerful foreign policy think-tank

Outgoing New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly will join the dominant foreign policy think-tank Council on Foreign Relations following his exit from the NYPD later this month.

Kelly, the longest-serving commissioner in New York Police Department history, will become a visiting fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), the organization said Monday in a statement. He will focus on "counterterrorism, cybersecurity, and other national security issues” while working at the organization’s headquarters in Manhattan.

"Ray Kelly spearheaded the modernization of the New York Police Department," CFR President Richard Haass said in the statement.

"The result is that crime is down and the NYPD's counter terrorism capabilities are second to none. We are excited and proud to have his experience, expertise, and judgment at the Council."

The CFR is considered the most influential foreign policy think-tank in the United States. Many top American politicians, officials from presidential administrations, bankers, lawyers, media personalities and others are counted as members. Some top board members include the group’s co-chairman Robert Rubin, former US Secretary of Treasury and co-chair of Goldman Sachs; former Secretaries of State Madeleine Albright and Colin Powell; and the longest-serving CENTCOM commander, Gen. John Abizaid.

In addition to the CFR post, Kelly signed a contract earlier this month to give lucrative speeches with Greater Talent Network.

Kelly was New York Police Commissioner for two non-consecutive terms. He led the NYPD from 1992 to 1994 under Mayor David Dinkins. Upon election of Rudolph Giuliani as mayor in 1994, Kelly was replaced by William Bratton, who will again replace Kelly when current Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio takes office on Jan. 1, 2014.

Kelly’s second run as commissioner lasted all three of Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s terms as mayor, from 2002 to 2014.

Overall crime dropped since Kelly took office in 2002 and murder rates in New York City have fallen to new lows since the 1950s. Yet his years during Bloomberg’s mayoral tenure have been marked with a concurrent build-up of NYPD authority, intelligence and surveillance operations.

In the years following the September 11, 2001, attacks, Kelly’s NYPD conducted a vast spying operation aimed at Muslims within the city and beyond. The program, conducted by the NYPD’s so-called Demographics Unit and uncovered in 2011 through an Associated Press investigation, singled out Muslims and people of Middle-East descent as fair game as part of an alleged counterterrorism operation conducted with the assistance of a former high-ranking Central Intelligence Agency officer.

Kelly will likely be remembered most for the controversial stop-and-frisk policy he solidified over the past decade. New York police stopped hundreds of thousands of people each year without reasonable suspicion of criminal activity. After a lengthy trial earlier this year a federal judge declared stop-and-frisk unconstitutional, in part because it unfairly targeted racial minorities.

The controversial police tactic may follow Kelly as he signs on for public speeches focused on his years as commissioner. Brown University administrators said they are considering disciplining students who interrupted a speech Kelly delivered at the campus in an attempt to protest his stop-and-frisk policy.

Kelly appeared at the Rhode Island school on October 29 but as soon as he began speaking a number of students and members of the surrounding community began shouting, calling him a racist and imploring him to answer for stop-and-frisk’s violations of the 4th and 14th Amendments. After 30 minutes, administrators determined that the disruption was enough to end Kelly’s engagement.

In early December, the NYPD’s Intelligence Division recommended Kelly take 10 police officers from the NYPD to serve as personal bodyguards after his tenure, to protect him at all times in New York and when he makes trips out of town. That group is expected to cost New York taxpayers up to US$2 million each year, according to DNA Info New York.

Kelly also worked as senior managing director of global corporate security at Bear, Stearns & Co. Inc., from 2000 to 2001. During the Bill Clinton administration, he was a commissioner of the US Customs Service, and undersecretary for enforcement at the US Treasury Department.