Driving Mrs. Kelly

RayVeronicaKelly.jpgPolice columnist Len Levitt of NYPD Confidential has an interesting piece on Commissioner Ray Kelly’s use of his official security detail to chauffeur his wife on personal trips at taxpayer expense. My first reaction would be a big "So what?" except for three things:

It all adds up to a sense that Ray Kelly and the NYPD are above the very same laws that they were sworn to uphold. Levitt writes:

Between 2002, when Kelly returned as commissioner, and late 2006, when the accusations against Hevesi surfaced, plain-clothes detectives from Kelly’s nine-man security detail had driven his wife Veronica in unmarked police cars on hundreds of personal trips about the city, these detectives say.

One detective said the detail drove Mrs. Kelly as many as three or four times a week.

Another detective said that "while three or four times a week may be too much, it did happen frequently, involving plenty of vehicles and plenty of personnel. No question about it."

These included, the detectives say, picking Mrs. Kelly up on the Upper East Side when her car broke down; driving her to fundraising events or to the shelter where she volunteered; and taking her to and from airports for domestic and foreign flights.

Occasionally, when Mrs. Kelly ran late, she directed the detail to use lights and sirens, a practice Commissioner Kelly had banned for himself, unless it involved a police emergency, the detectives say.

"I know my husband doesn’t like to do this but I need to get there right away," a detective quoted her as saying when she was running late to a fundraiser.

"The commissioner’s wife tells you to put the lights on, you put the lights on," the detective said.

Two blocks from the site of the event, he added, she ordered the lights and sirens turned off.

New Critical Mass chant: "Whose street!? Veronica Kelly’s streets!!"

Photo: New York Social Diary 

  • time for a new commish…

  • anonymous

    Kelly’s rationale will be security, as was Hevesi’s. In his case, he’s got the security people to back him up.

  • ddartley

    I wonder if Kelly would have the rank and file behind him, if this story blows up the way it did for Hevesi.

    The lights and sirens business is a serious breach of the public trust. Heck, wasn’t it the Mayor himself who cracked down on that a couple years ago? I observe it going on all the time these days–don’t feel like waiting for that light? Sound your woop-woops. You’re above the law. (I’m serious, I see it almost every day these days)

  • AD

    The more congestion there is in the city, the more one who has lights-and-sirens installed in his or her car is tempted to use them inappropriately. There is a reason why we have been hearing about more scandals like this. And that reason is another thing that would be fixed by congestion pricing.

  • tmcmh

    In the case of the Commissioner’s wife, it seems to me the security argument carries a lot more weight. The lights-and-sirens is clearly not right, but I want the city’s Police Commissioner to be very confident that his or her immediate family is safe.

  • You are so not getting a baby gift from the Kellys.

  • Spud Spudly

    Bloomberg put the clamps on lights and sirens use around two years ago after one of his deputy mayors was observed on camera by channel 2 news using them every day to bypass traffic during her daily commute down the Henry Hudson Parkway. The cops driving Ms. Kelly surely feel that it’s appropriate because they’re…you know…they’re cops and anything they do is OK.

  • Spud Spudly

    Of course, it the Commissioner’s wife tells you to do it, it’s kind of hard for a cop to say no. Seems like Mr. Kelly needs to have a talk with Ms. Kelly.

  • Tanya

    Shame, shame, shame on Police Commissioner Kelly. If he runs for mayor, this will come back to haunt him.


1.2 Million Traffic Summonses Is Nothing to Be Proud Of

Just another city motorist breaking the law with impunity. Photo: NYT In his response to Executive Order, the thorough and damning report on lax NYPD traffic enforcement released by Transportation Alternatives last month, Commissioner Ray Kelly was dismissive and defensive. "I don’t know what they are talking about," said Kelly. "In 2007 and 2008 we […]

Contrary to Ray Kelly, NYPD Doesn’t Investigate Serious Traffic Injuries

One day after Jacob Stevens filed suit against the NYPD for failing to properly investigate the crash that killed his wife, Clara Heyworth, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly told reporters that the department’s Accident Investigation Squad handles all crashes that result in serious injury. The claim does not withstand the slightest scrutiny. Here’s what Kelly said […]

Does Ray Kelly Know the Speed Limit Now?

Mayor Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly announcing changes in NYC crime rates for 2008. The city does not track rates of traffic crime. Photo: Gothamist. Soon after we posted about Police Commissioner Ray Kelly’s refusal to acknowledge the sad state of traffic enforcement in New York City, a reader sent us this nugget from […]

NYPD Still Doesn’t Investigate All Fatal Traffic Crashes

In 2013, Ray Kelly made the only significant traffic safety policy change in his exceptionally long tenure as police commissioner. Kelly promised to increase the staffing of NYPD’s Collision Investigation Squad — where, at the time, only 19 detectives were assigned to investigate crashes in a city with about 300 traffic deaths and 3,000 serious injuries […]