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Vigilance, My Life Serving America and Protecting Its Empire City

Friday September 2015

A lifelong New Yorker, Ray Kelly holds the distinction of being the longest-serving police commissioner in the city’s history. Kelly spent 47 years in the NYPD, served in 25 different commands and was commissioner during 1992–94 under Mayor David Dinkins and then again, during 2002–13, under Mayor Michael Bloomberg. He oversaw the police response to the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, the 9/11 attacks, and the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations. After 9/11, he took on the enormous task of transforming the NYC Police Department into a world-class counter-terrorism operation. Under Kelly’s watch, NYPD officers helped foil 16 terrorist plots and drove crime down to historic lows.

Today, more than a year and a half into Mayor Bill de Blasio's tenure, shootings in NYC are up 6 percent, year-on-year, murders are up 11 percent, and the use of stop, question, and frisk is down 95 percent since its 2011 peak. City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito has proposed decriminalizing fare-beating, public urination, and other non-violent offenses. New Yorkers increasingly wonder whether Gotham’s remarkable drop in crime—roughly twice as deep and twice as long as the U.S. average—will endure.

In his revealing new memoir Vigilance: My Life Serving America and Protecting Its Empire City, Kelly, the son of an Upper West Side milkman, offers colorful insight on a unique life and career. Please join us for a special MI book forum, as one of America's great crime-fighters discusses the past, present, and future of public safety in the United States.