Press Release

ADL Honors Former Police Commissioner Ray Kelly for Lifetime of Public Service & Keeping New Yorkers Safe

New York, NY, March 26, 2014 …The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has honored former New York City Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly with the ADL Americanism Award in recognition of his lifetime of public service and his leadership at a time when New York and the country were confronted with terrorism and other security threats.

“There are few people with 50 years in public service, and there are far fewer yet who have served the people for five decades and left an indelible mark on their city and their country.  Ray Kelly is such a man,” Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director said in presenting the award earlier today at a ceremony Wednesday at ADL’s National Headquarters in Manhattan.

“But today is not just about recounting Ray Kelly’s many accomplishments in office,” Mr. Foxman said. “It is simply an opportunity to say, ‘thank you.’  Thank you for your unparalleled record of keeping our residents safe and protecting our nation from terrorism and harm.”

Among the dignitaries taking part in the ceremony were former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and former U.S. Rep. Gary Ackerman, D-NY.

In accepting the award, Mr. Kelly praised the administration of Mayor Michael Bloomberg for his strong support of the police department.  The former mayor, he said, “has been there for the department on every occasion.”  Yet he added that the city needs to remain vigilant against the terrorist threat.  “There were five plots in the last 16 months here in New York City.  New York clearly still is in the terrorists’ crosshairs,” Kelly said.  “The threat is alive, it is with us. It is not something we should sugarcoat.  We have to be vigilant and we have to be on our guard.”

Mr. Kelly’s last 12 years of service under Mayor Bloomberg, combined with tenure in the same role under Mayor David Dinkins from 1992 to 1994, made him the longest serving police commissioner in New York City’s history. 

In his remarks Mr. Giuliani credited Mr. Kelly and the Bloomberg Administration for making counterterrorism and terrorism preparedness a priority in the years after 9/11 while also realizing a significant decline in crime. “This is a remarkable performance that I didn’t think was possible,” Mr. Giuliani said.  “It happened, and it got done, and Ray is the man who would have taken all the heat if he hadn’t gotten it done.  But he got it done.”

Mr. Kelly also served with distinction as Commissioner of the U.S. Customs Service, as Treasury Undersecretary of Enforcement and as a U.S. Marine with active duty in Vietnam.  He retired as a colonel from the Marine Corps Reserves after 30 years of service.

Commissioner Kelly’s many accomplishments while police commissioner included the establishment of the first counterterrorism bureau of any municipal police department in the country, as well as the creation of a new global intelligence program that stationed New York City detectives in 11 foreign cities around the world.

In addition to dedicating extensive resources to preventing another terrorist attack like 9/11, Mr. Kelly led the drive to reduce violent crime by 40 percent from 2001 levels.  He established a state-of-the-art Real Time Crime Center that uses data mining to search millions of computer records and put investigative leads into the hands of detectives in the field.

The ADL Americanism Award is presented to an individual or institution for embracing America’s democratic values and fundamental commitment to equality and fair treatment for all. Previous recipients include Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott; Leonard Riggio of Barnes & Noble; David Komansky of Merrill Lynch; Robert Benmosche of MetLife; Richard S. Fuld of Lehman Brothers; Maurice Greenberg of AIG; Patricia M. Anton of the Anton Family Foundation and William C. Anton of Anton Enterprises; tennis star Venus Williams; and Jane and Neil Golub of Price Chopper Supermarkets.