Vigilance: My Life Serving America and Protecting Its Empire City

Vigilance: My Life Serving America and Protecting Its Empire City

by Ray Kelly


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Two-time New York City police commissioner Ray Kelly opens up about his remarkable life, taking us inside fifty years of law enforcement leadership, offering chilling stories of terrorist plots after 9/11, and sharing his candid insights into the challenges and controversies cops face today.

The son of a milkman and a Macy's dressing room checker, Ray Kelly grew up on New York City's Upper West Side, a middle-class neighborhood where Irish and Puerto Rican kids played stickball and tussled in the streets. He entered the police academy and served as a marine in Vietnam, living and fighting by the values that would carry him through a half century of leadership-justice, decisiveness, integrity, courage, and loyalty.

Kelly soared through the NYPD ranks in decades marked by poverty, drugs, civil unrest, and a murder rate that, at its peak, spiked to over two thousand per year. Kelly came to be known as a tough leader, a fixer who could go into a troubled precinct and clean it up. That reputation catapulted him into his first stint as commissioner, under Mayor David Dinkins, where Kelly oversaw the police response to the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and spearheaded programs that would help usher in the city's historic drop in crime.

Eight years later, in the chaotic wake of the 9/11 attacks, newly elected mayor Michael Bloomberg tapped Kelly to be NYC's top cop once again. After a decade working with Interpol, serving as undersecretary of the Treasury for enforcement, overseeing U.S. Customs, and commanding an international police force in Haiti, Kelly understood that New York's security was synonymous with our national security. Believing that the city could not afford to rely solely on "the feds," he succeeded in transforming the NYPD from a traditional police department into a resource-rich counterterrorism-and-intelligence force.

In this vital memoir, Kelly reveals the inside stories of his life in the hot seat of "the capital of the world"-from the terror plots that nearly brought a city to its knees to his dealings with politicians, including Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama as well as Mayors Rudolph Giuliani, Bloomberg, and Bill DeBlasio. He addresses criticisms and controversies like the so-called stop-question-and-frisk program and the rebuilding of the World Trade Center and offers his insights into the challenges that have recently consumed our nation's police forces, even as the need for vigilance remains as acute as ever.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780316383813
Publisher: Hachette Books
Publication date: 09/08/2015
Pages: 336
Sales rank: 586,645
Product dimensions: 6.20(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.40(d)

About the Author

With fifty years in public service, Ray Kelly is one of the world's most highly esteemed law enforcement leaders. A forty-three-year veteran of the NYPD, Kelly served in twenty-five different commands before being named police commissioner in 1992. Kelly was again appointed in January 2002 by Mayor Michael Bloomberg, making Kelly the longest serving police commissioner in the city's history. Kelly holds degrees from Manhattan College, St. John's University School of Law, New York University Graduate School of Law, and the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

Table of Contents

Introduction 1

1 City Kid 9

2 Battlefields 24

3 On the Job 44

4 Taking Command 65

5 Crime Waves 73

6 Haitian Heat 100

7 Federal Time 117

8 Fighting Chance 134

9 Then Everything Changed 143

10 Long Shot Mayor 156

11 Building the Team 165

12 Crime Fighters 179

13 Bulking Up 197

14 Terror Never Sleeps 208

15 Target Tower 257

16 Reasonable Suspicion 270

17 Running Against the Police 283

18 Onward 295

Acknowledgments 314

Index 317

A Conversation with Ray Kelly 329

What People are Saying About This

Walter Isaacson

As NYC's police commissioner after 9/11, Ray Kelly was on the front lines of two of the most important issues of our time: confronting terrorism and dealing with the issues of race and policing. In this personal and thoughtful book, he weaves together his own life story with the tough decisions he had to make. It's a critically important book for anyone who cares about the justice and security issues we face today. --Walter Isaacson, #1 New York Times-bestselling author of Steve Jobs and The Innovators

Mike Lupica

At a time when we needed heroes as much as we ever had, Ray Kelly was a hero of his city and his country. Vigilance is his story, finally told in his own words, about everything he did as police commissioner to keep New York City safe in a dangerous world. More than that, it is the story of a great American life. --Mike Lupica, New York Daily News columnist and #1 New York Times-bestselling author

Richard A. Clarke

Vigilance offers an intimate view into the life and career of one of America's finest leaders and how he transformed the NYPD after 9/11 into the world's most effective counter-terrorism police force, which continues to protect New York City today. --Richard A. Clarke, #1 New York Times-bestselling author of Against All Enemies and former National Coordinator for Security and Counter-terrorism

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Vigilance: My Life Serving America and Protecting Its Empire City 2.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
SuzannahBTroy More than 1 year ago
When Ray Kelly gets to the part about September 11, he uses the word "spectacular". That should be a clue and make you vigilant against Ray Kelly in my opinion and you should know I am suing him and have been for years involving a savage assault at an MD's office in Soho and the NYPD detectives openly broke laws, lied in DD5s and I was verbally violently threatened over the phone with false arrest unless I dropped charges against my attacker, a violent lying attack receptionist. I would urge you to not buy this book. Ray has an in with Amazon where Amazon is blocking all negative reviews? My opinion this book belongs in the fiction section next to Lance Armstrong's books. Eric Garner's handwritten lawsuit filed under Ray Kelly's "service" and it's an indictment from the grave including an illegal stop & frisk, allegations drugs were planted on him. He was also a victim of retaliation since the NYPD told him they knew who he was and the Parks dept should not employ him because he's a felon. Ask Ray Kelly how many illegal stops and frisks under his reign, along w/ rape cops and top cops promoted for fixing crimes as reported in NYDN re; Chief Chuck Dowd who like others took lavish gifts like Ray Kelly took free rides on the mayor's private jet until someone in the media exposed him! Ray Kelly's role defending a pile up of crimes from the First Precinct to Internal Affairs my case will one day be in books on corruption along with Eric Garner's hand written indictment from what would be now 8 years ago!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A great book to read and thanks for his awesome job and the NYPD.