Ireland House Oral History Collection

Ray Kelly

Ray Kelly at Glucksman Ireland House, 4 January 2011. Photo by Linda Dowling Almeida.


4 January 2011

1 hour, 19 minutes, 3 seconds

Preferred Citation:

Ireland House Oral History Collection, Archives of Irish America, New York University

Biographical Note:

Ray Kelly was born in New York City in 1941 and grew up on the Upper West Side of Manhattan and in the Sunnyside section of Queens. He attended Archbishop Molloy High School and graduated from Manhattan College in 1961. In 1963 Kelly joined the New York Police Department and enlisted in the US Marine Corps Reserves. He served in combat in Vietnam in 1965 and after 30 years of service retired from the Marines as a Colonel in 1993.

Commissioner Kelly holds a number of advanced degrees, including a JD from St. John's University School of Law, LLM from New York University, and honorary degrees from Marist College, Iona College, the State University of New York (SUNY), and Catholic University of America, among others.

He has worked in a diverse range of positions in corporate, national and international security, including serving as Director of the International Police Monitors in Haiti (1994-1995), Under Secretary for Enforcement in the US Treasury Department (1996-1998), Commissioner of the US Customs Service (1998-2001) and Senior Managing Director for Corporate Security at Bear Stearns Companies, Inc. (2000-2001).

Kelly was appointed Commissioner of the New York Police Department in 1992 by Mayor David Dinkins and again in 2002 by Mayor Michael Bloomberg. He is the only commissioner in the history of the NYPD to serve two non-consecutive terms. Following the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center, Commissioner Kelly became known for developing innovative counterterrorism initiatives in the NYPD, utilizing technology and global intelligence networks.

Commissioner Kelly was the Grand Marshal of the New York City St. Patrick's Day Parade in 2010. His grandparents came to New York from Counties Cavan, Roscommon, and Longford. He has two sons, Greg and James, and lives in Manhattan with his wife Veronica.