In Conversation: Former NYPD Commissioner Raymond Kelly

Photo: Two Norwich cadets interview former NYPD commissioner Raymond Kelly
Norwich University Office of Communications

November 27, 2017

Raymond Kelly led the New York City Police Department for 14 years under mayors David Dinkins and Michael Bloomberg, becoming the city’s longest-serving police commissioner while capping a 47-year NYPD career. Between appointments, Kelly oversaw policing in Haiti for the United Nations, worked for Interpol in Europe, and led the U.S. Customs Bureau. At the NYPD, he implemented many innovations, including the push to recruit police officers who speak 106 languages to serve one of the most diverse cities in the world. The counter-terrorism bureau he established at the NYPD in 2002 was the first of its kind for a metropolitan police force.

The author of the 2015 book, Vigilance: My Life Serving America and Protecting Its Empire City, Kelly visited the Norwich campus earlier this month to present the Fall 2017 Todd Lecture. During his visit, the former Marine and Vietnam War veteran sat down to talk about his life and career with Jess R. Hindman ’19 and John L. Smith ’18. Hailing from Mansfield, Mass., and Houston, Tex., respectively, the two Norwich cadets and criminal justice majors kicked off the conversation.

We’d like to ask you primarily about leadership, because that’s why we’re in the Corps and why we chose Norwich. Throughout your career, what’s been consistent in your leadership and management style?

Kelly: It’s a good question. I had three older brothers in the Marine Corps. They used to bring home their “72” gear, or field equipment, including a guide book for Marines. I probably saw this when I was 13. It’s been around since 1910. But they keep issuing new editions of it. It talks about leadership traits. The general principle is, “Hey, if you act like a leader, if you sound like a leader, if you do the things that good leaders do, you’re a leader.” Leaders are made. They’re not born. I sort of took that to heart.

Photo: Portrait of Raymond KellyThere are 14 leadership principles in that book. I have a Franklin Planner that I use. In one of the dividers, I have these 14 leadership traits. Obviously, you could write paragraphs, books, about each one of those things. But some of them are justice and judgment. How do you treat people who are working for you? What you ultimately want is respect from the people you work with. How do you get that respect? One of the ways you get it is by using these traits. There’s dependability, obviously integrity, decisiveness. There’s tact. There’s initiative, enthusiasm, bearing, unselfishness, courage, job knowledge, loyalty, and endurance. Now, if you look at all of those, and you try and emulate them as best you can, people are going to see you as a leader. Someone who they respect. That’s what I try to do. There’s certainly lots of challenges, in life, challenges as a leader. But it’s sort of worked for me. I know there’s a lot of different definitions of leadership. But I wanted to keep it simple in my head.

That is a little bit of my leadership secret. Also, I’m a hands-on leader. I’m not a micro-manager. But I am hands on. I want to do things that enable me to see what personnel are doing, let them know that I appreciate what they do. Also, you never want to become one of the boys or girls. A lot of people don’t realize that. There’s a price to pay for leadership. The expression, “It’s lonely at the top.” Yeah. It is—at every level. Again, you want that respect. If you are just one of the crowd and become sort of one of your subordinates, they’re not going to respect you. These are some of the things that I think work for me.

Taking counter-terrorism work as an example, you were able to effect great amounts of change in the NYPD. What would you say has been your most effective method for enacting that change and getting people to do what you want?

Photo: Norwich cadets interview Raymond KellyWell, let’s face it: The position of authority gives you the ability to affect change. Now the question is, is it lasting? Will people resist it? Will it somehow be undermined? Just having a position of authority enables you to initiate things. I think the respect element I talked about is what enables it to sort of take hold. You know, “This person is leading this effort. Because it’s this person, I think it has merit. I am buying into it.”

What are some ways that you’ve changed your leadership style over the years?

I think leadership to a certain degree is situational. It depends on what the work force looks like and what the immediate situation is. I think you need to be flexible in terms of how you approach it. If I have to use one word as to how I lead, I would probably say “authoritative.” I have that model because in an organization like the police department, you’ve got people working 24 hours a day. The department needs the structure, the people need that structure. I think in many things you have to have that authoritative style. But then there’s the coach, and then there’s the element of counseling people. So, depending on the situation you’ve got to be able to adjust to what you believe is the right leadership style. In an emergency situation, you have to use the authority that you have. People expect that. People want somebody in charge. You have to take that position. But you don’t have to go around flexing that all the time.

How have you dealt with people that didn’t like you or the decisions you’ve made and been able to move on?

You do just that—move on. I would say this, I did learn a lesson. I made a decision, and quite frankly I don’t remember what it was, but it had to do with constituencies. You have to think about the [ones] you have when making a decision. I made this decision that did not incorporate the union or the union position. You work with the public, the media, elected officials, the boss, the mayor, that sort of thing. I just didn’t think about the union. It came back to cause a problem.

Photo: Raymond Kelly stands with two Norwich cadets, holding challenge coin giftSo, I actually drew a decision wheel, and I put all these constituencies in it. “Did I think of this? Did I think of that?” So, I learned a lesson. If you have the time to do that, you want to use the capacity that you have to check in with people and see what their thoughts are. Sometimes you have to force your hand. But if you have the time and the opportunity, you check with your constituents.

Interview condensed and edited for length and clarity.

Produced, edited and photographed by Sean Markey

9 Objects: The Office of NU Terrorism and Policing Scholar Travis Morris

Norwich University Office of Communications
September 13, 2016

It’s been a busy year for Norwich Assistant Professor of Criminology and Criminal Justice Travis Morris. Recently named the director of the university’s Peace and War Center, Morris organized a NATO-sponsored advanced training course on counter terrorism in Macedonia for South Eastern Europe this past spring. He’s also brought a Canadian Fulbright scholar to campus and co-led a summer trip to Israel and Palestine. The trip enabled students from Norwich and the Royal Military College of Canada to explore the roots of the Middle East conflict. All that while teaching and continuing his wide-ranging scholarship, which explores how ideas have shaped modern terrorism. His book, Dark Ideas: How Violent Jihadi and Neo-Nazi Ideologues Have Shaped Modern Terrorism is slated for publication later this year. Morris shares the backstory of nine objects from his office in Ainsworth Hall.

Great Moments in Aviation History Print
A gift from Morris’s father, a retired Air Force colonel, who taught at the Air Command Staff College at Maxwell AFB. “As a kid, I wanted to be a pilot and fly A-10s. But I didn’t have 20/20 vision, so I had to let that dream go.” Morris says the poster is a nod to his father and “reminds me a little bit of growing up surrounded by aviators.”

Kentucky Colonel Certificate
When Morris was a police officer in Kentucky, his in-laws nominated him as a colonel in Kentucky’s honorary state militia. He received the certificate among his wedding gifts.

Mountain Bike
As a PhD student and father in Nebraska, Morris cycled to work to squeeze in a workout. “The problem was the wind.” Today, Morris still bikes to the office, albeit less frequently. “I don’t have time just to go to the gym. So that’s where that fits in.” More often he drives, dropping his kids off at school along the way.

Florida Folksong Book
“My grandfather was a fourth-generation Floridian.” His brother, Alton C. Morris, PhD, was an ethnographer who recorded and preserved folk songs and taught English at the University of Florida. Morris’s grandfather constantly sang Florida folksongs to him as a child. The book speaks to the academic side of his family tree.

Miniature of Point Arena, Calif., Lighthouse
A gift from his father recalling Morris’s early childhood. The family lived on a remote USAF radar base in northern California that scanned the West Coast for the Soviet threat. “There were only several hundred people that lived on this remote mountain top. We had a doctor once a week.”

Scrimshaw Whale Tooth
Another memento from that time. Morris remembers it mostly as kid heaven. “It was like living in some outpost away from the rest of civilization—miles and miles and miles and miles of huge redwoods around us, and wild boars, and the long winding access road that made us car sick almost every time.”

Carnegie Foundation Mug
Part of the grant writing endeavors Morris has taken on as director of the Peace and War Center.

Haifa Photo
Morris spent two years living in Israel with his wife and young daughter while studying Hebrew and doing research for his master’s thesis on the Israel national police. “Believe it or not, that’s looking out our porch. If you turn your head slightly to the right you can see Lebanon.”

Family Photo Taken in Israel
“The girl in the middle is my little daughter, Eden. She was 6 months [old] when we lived there. She happens to be sitting on the Horns of Hattin, which is the site of a historic Crusader battle.” The 12th-century battle marked the turning point of the religious war. There’s no park, just a “small beat up metal sign at the end of a dirt path. You looked down from the battlefield to see the Sea of Galilee.”

Ideas @ Work: #9 Peace and War Center

Logo of Norwich University Peace and War Center

33 ideas big and small from Norwich students, faculty, staff, and alumni that are transforming campus and the world.

The Norwich Record

Spring 2016

In June, NU’s College of Liberal Arts debuted a reimagined Peace and War Center (PAWC) led by criminal justice professor Travis Morris. The center enables Norwich faculty and students from multiple disciplines to study issues related to peace and war in detail as well as showcase and leverage NU’s expertise far beyond campus. This year, the center brought a Canadian Fulbright scholar to campus and organized a NATO advanced-training course in Macedonia to address terrorism threats in southeastern Europe.

More Ideas@Work:

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Norwich University Wins $2.3M FEMA Cybersecurity Grant

NORTHFIELD, Vt. – Five universities that make up the National Cybersecurity Preparedness Consortium (NCPC) will blend their cyber terrorism and incident response education programs in order to provide nationwide critical infrastructure protection training.

Norwich University Applied Research Institutes (NUARI) has been awarded $2.3 million by the Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to help better prepare the country to defend itself against continuous cyberattacks and intrusions.

For the project, NUARI has partnered with the Criminal Justice Institute of the University of Arkansas System, the Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service, the University of Memphis and the Center for Infrastructure Assurance & Security at the University of Texas at San Antonio.

NUARI and its partners will develop numerous training products on cybersecurity over the next three years.

These include web-based, just-in-time training programs on cybersecurity, blended mobile training programs, comprehensive cyberterrorism defense courses and web-based training modules and podcasts.

“The entire NUARI team is excited as it leads the National Cybersecurity Preparedness Consortium (NCPC) in this opportunity to build programs to help defend the nation against cyber related threats,” NUARI President Phil Susmann said. He thanked the Department of Homeland Security and FEMA for recognizing the talent of the NCPC team.

The award is one of six training grants—worth $11 million in total—falling under the FEMA Fiscal Year 2014 Continuing Training Grant (FY 2014 CTG) program, which aims to train first responders, emergency managers, technical specialists, community leaders, and tribal and local governments to prepare for disasters.

The FY 2014 CTG program targets six areas:

  • hazardous materials and weapons of mass destruction
  • cybersecurity
  • countering violent extremism
  • maturing public-private partnerships
  • medical readiness/immediate victim care at mass casualty events, and
  • rural training.

As prime contractor, NUARI will receive and distribute the $2.3 million grant to partner institutions through subcontracts, administer the project, and be responsible for deliverables.

ABOUT NUARI

Norwich University Applied Research Institutes (NUARI) was federally chartered under legislation sponsored by Sen. Patrick Leahy in 2002 and is funded in part through the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Defense.  NUARI is dedicated to pursuing the ideals of Norwich University founder Captain Alden Partridge to participate in the building of this nation and to prepare its graduates to deal with threats to an American way of life. The institutes build on the University’s status as a National Security Agency Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Education.

NUARI, a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation, serves the national public interest through the study of critical national issues and the development of related educational and training programs; by conducting rapid research, development and deployment of needed technologies; and by addressing related policy, information management and technology issues to enhance a national capability for preparedness and response.  NUARI accomplishes its mission through development of strategic alliances, partnerships, collaborations, and outreach programs with diverse public and private sector stakeholders; communities of governmental and non-governmental organizations, academic and research institutions; and business and industry associations and entities.

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Norwich University is a diversified academic institution that educates traditional-age students and adults in a Corps of Cadets and as civilians. Norwich offers a broad selection of traditional and distance-learning programs culminating in Baccalaureate and Graduate Degrees. Norwich University was founded in 1819 by Captain Alden Partridge of the U.S. Army and is the oldest private military college in the United States of America. Norwich is one of our nation’s six senior military colleges and the birthplace of the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC). www.norwich.edu