Skip to comments.EX-NYPD Chief Kerik Made the City Safe
Posted on 12/03/2004 7:39:14 PM PST by ThePythonicCow
Former New York City Police Commissioner Bernie Kerik answers questions after speaking at the New York Republican State Committee 2004 Designation Meeting in Syracuse, NY in this May 19, 2004 file photo.
December 02, 2004 8:38 AM PST
WASHINGTON - As New York's police commissioner, Bernard Kerik became known after the Sept. 11 attacks as the fierce, sorrowful face of his reeling department. But the former undercover cop has been confronting danger for decades.
His expertise as a crimefighter and his oversight of the NYPD's heroic efforts during the 2001 terrorist attacks earned him international fame and a role as a special adviser to the Iraqi government, which drew on his help to establish a fledgling police force after the toppling of Saddam Hussein.
Now President Bush, who on Thursday selected Kerik to replace Tom Ridge as secretary of the Homeland Security Department, is counting on him to help defend the nation's borders from terrorist attacks like the one that killed nearly 3,000 people in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania more than three years ago.
When former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani began searching in 2000 for someone to lead the NYPD, he selected Kerik: a fiercely loyal lieutenant who still spoke with the low grumble of a street cop.
About a year after his appointment, Kerik found himself racing to the World Trade Center in lower Manhattan amid reports a plane had struck one of the towers. Soon afterward, as the second plane struck the south tower, sending a shower of rubble and burning debris toward him, Kerik found himself running for his life. He remained stoic alongside Giuliani, who had become "America's mayor" because of his stewardship of the city during the crisis.
More recently in Iraq, Kerik was dubbed the "Baghdad Terminator" after summarily dismissing a newly reinstated Iraqi official who turned out to be a member of Hussein's Baath Party.
Kerik, 49, grew up without knowing his birth mother, a tough kid in Paterson, N.J., where he usually cut classes from the trouble-filled Eastside High School later depicted in the 1989 film "Lean on Me." He learned years later that his mother was a convicted prostitute, possibly killed by a pimp.
Kerik dropped out of high school, getting an equivalency degree, to join the Army, where he became a military policeman stationed in South Korea.
Within a few years, he left the military to work private security in Saudi Arabia, his first taste of the type of security measures used to protect VIPs from terrorists.
After a stint supervising a jail in New Jersey, he became a New York police officer, starting out walking a beat in Times Square when it was still largely the domain of seedy characters and street hustlers. He was promoted to detective and worked undercover busting drug dealers, growing a long ponytail to help him look the part.
In the 1990s, he was tapped to clean up New York's long-troubled jail system. Under his watch as the city's corrections chief, stabbings and fights at the notorious Riker's Island dropped precipitously.
Since leaving the department, Kerik joined Giuliani Partners, becoming a security consultant and then signing on to help launch the Iraqi police force.
During the Republican National Convention this summer, he vociferously backed Bush as the right man to lead the war on terror.
Kerik has two young daughters with his second wife, Halah, and a grown son. He fathered another daughter while stationed in Korea; he was able to find her after Sept. 11 made him a national figure.
He's one tough cookie. Looks like a great pick.
Good choice. After all, he does solve problems...
He's a straight talker, no bull kind of guy and the DIMS will not know how to deal with him because of his 9/11 experience, and his success in Iraq.
Great move for W!
Is that his wife Halah in the background? She looks middle-eastern.
He is a brilliant pick. If you had to have central casting pick a homeland security chief, he would look like Bernie.
Nothing of genuine significance here!
Where is the meat of the story, all I see are the usual glossy photo-op sound bites.
Does he fully support our complete and unabridged constitution and bill of rights?
Former NYC PD Commissioner, so I strongly suspect he is anti-RKBA.
How does he feel about the Fourth and Fifth amendments?
Freedom of speech?
Does he have a "final solution" to crime in America, and just what "reforms" does he want/need in order to accomplish the task?
I am not going to blindly back ANYONE from a liberal Hole like N.Y.!
I want DETAILS on this guy!
I have heard that he is, mostly, an anti-gun type.
It would not surprise me. However, I have been without the internet for the last 3 weeks and cannot confirm this.
Clearly she lacks the instincts for hogging the camera required to be a good Democrat politician in this country <grin>. I could not any other pictures of her, by name or by association with Bernard, nor any pictures of anyone else appearing as a spouse of Bernard.
He apparently played a lead role in Giuliani's cleaning up of crime in New York City.
This is a substantially different set of responsibilities for him. Probably no one can tell yet if he will do well by it or not.
I know that Guiliani & Kerik cleaned up NY quite a bit but it must be remembered how it had suffered under the negligence of Dinkens. Does this qualify Kerik for Homeland Security el jefe? I don't know.