Sunday, December 19, 2004

KERIK FLASHBACK How much media scrutiny did Bernard Kerik get when he was appointed police commissioner in 2000?

Probably not enough. But the press wasn't silent either:

In naming Kerik, the mayor ignored the recommendation of outgoing police commissioner Howard Safir, who had lobbied on behalf of Chief of Department Joseph Dunne, a 31-year veteran. Instead, the mayor named Dunne as Kerik's first deputy.


A former top Police Department official who works in a law enforcement capacity in another city and who asked for anonymity said of Kerik's appointment, "I'm in shock. I've been on the phone all morning. It's an embarrassment for Dunne and shows the mayor's contempt for the Police Department."

Besides not being a career cop, Kerik, a high school dropout with an equivalency diploma, lacks a college degree, a requirement for top NYPD employees above the rank of captain but not for mayoral appointees.

"We've been pushing the education issue to try and professionalize the department to change its image," the former official continued. "The fact that he Kerick [sic] lacks a college degree is extraordinary."

Giuliani, however, said Kerik's lack of a degree was not an issue.
--Newsday, August 20, 2000

And about that elusive college degree:
Kerik had been taking courses through Empire State College and needed 24 more credits for his bachelor's degree. He got a waiver from City Hall to bypass the requirement.
--Village Voice, August 7, 2001

Reporter Dan Janison sums up:
By choosing Bernard Kerik for police commissioner, Mayor Rudolph Giuliani stuck to his perennial habit of rewarding the loyal and the malleable over the experienced and the independent.

Still the insular power player with 16 months left in his final term, Giuliani ignored suggestions that he conduct at least an abbreviated nationwide search for top talent to replace the departing Howard Safir.

Against the advice of top law-enforcement aides, Giuliani picked a one-time campaign organizer and former member of his security detail, a man known in his inner circle as a congenial soldier. Kerik and Giuliani are friends.
--Newsday, August 20, 2000

CONTRAPOSITIVE is edited by Dan Aibel. Dan's a playwright. He lives in New York City.