Note to Ray Kelly

If you can’t enforce the law lawfully, why not let someone else try?

Dear Commissioner:

If you really and truly believe that you can’t keep New York City safe with constitutional means of policing, why not step aside and let someone else try it? I don’t think Charlie Beck, who has kept violence here in Los Angeles moving steadily down with a much smaller force (per capita) than yours, and done so without making a fetish of stop-and-frisk, has any interest in leaving LA – and of course all of us here hope he won’t – but Ed Flynn, who has a long record of successful and lawful crime-fighting, might be tired enough of dealing with Scott Walker to consider leaving Milwaukee.

Yours truly,

Mark Kleiman

P.s. Of course, it’s entirely possible that you were just talking trash. If so, you could just get back to managing the Department. But maybe, after 43 years on the force, it’s time for a well-earned retirement. I think the phrase is “been on the job too long.”

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: