April 20, 2002 -- Police Commissioner Ray Kelly unleashed an angry tirade against a City Council member yesterday for threatening the safety of hundreds of cops by releasing their names and badge numbers.
"I mean, I think it's a very unprofessional thing to do," said Kelly, whose ire was directed at Allan Jennings (D-Queens), chairman of the council's Civil Service and Labor Committee. Jennings was holding hearings on the "civilianization" of the NYPD - the quest to get more civilians to perform jobs now performed by cops - and gave reporters a list of the names and badge numbers of 1,079 officers, detectives and police supervisors he claimed are working in non-law-enforcement jobs.
Mayor Bloomberg has previously raised the issue because of the city's fiscal woes and has mentioned the possibility of replacing as many as 800 desk-bound cops with civilians as a budget-saving device. Kelly lashed out at Jennings at a Police Headquarters press conference.
"Well, first of all! , I think it was totally inappropriate for the City Council to put out this information," Kelly said. "We never had a discussion with them on this list. They took the list - that includes the names of narcotics officers, names of officers in Internal Affairs, people that may very well be involved in undercover investigations - and made it public, gave it to members of the media."
Kelly said the council "could have come to the department, we could have looked at it, we could have discussed it with them, but no, what did they do? They took it and gave it to the media.
"So, I mean it's just not a professional way to act," he said. Kelly said he had spoken with council Speaker Gifford Miller, who "was very upset with the conduct of [what] I believe was the council and Jennings who did this. He said it was inappropriate. He thought it was unprofessional."
Kelly blasted Jennings' conduct as "just unwise, imprudent," adding that to "achieve headlines, it doesn't substantively improve anybody's lot."
A senior aide to Kelly insisted Jennings had sought to "grandstand" a sensitive political issue by springing a surprise upon Kelly.
Miller later issued a statement claiming he "regrets council member Jennings' decision to release the information in the fashion in which it was done. But certainly there was no intent to compromise police security."