Somebody relatively intelligent once noted that the unexamined life is not worth living. Most non-sociopathic people we know spend an inordinate amount of time obsessing over this concept. And we know there's an inordinate amount of pressure on public officials, especially those who oversee the biggest police force in the country. But it's still pretty disturbing that outgoing NYPD chief Ray Kelly can't find any faults during his tenure as Police Commissioner: "I can't see any failures. This is a job where you have to respond, by definition, to crises," Kelly told the Post. "I don't see any major errors that I would say we needed to do over." It's not reflection if you refuse to reflect.
Even the Post, who have been known to be somewhat sympathetic to the NYPD no matter what the situation, had to push him on that statement. First they brought up the botched arrest of Dominique Strauss-Kahn: “Disappointed? No, because we did what we had to do here. We arrested an individual. He was brought to justice. We got him off the plane,” Kelly said of the May 2011 arrest of DSK, who was accused of assaulting Nafissatou Diallo in a midtown hotel. “Obviously, the District Attorney’s Office probably is the right place to ask their opinion.”
When it came to the Etan Patz case, Kelly also passed the buck to the DA's office: when asked how the civil case against José Ramos complicates the criminal case against schizophrenic suspect Pedro Hernandez, Kelly retorted, “That’s really as far as the prosecution is concerned. That’s really in the purview of the district attorney.”
Even if you think the DSK and Patz debacles are more to blame on the DA, there is no mention whatsoever of stop-and-frisk abuses, the NYPD's reliance on surveillance (and blatantly spying on Muslims), Operation Lucky Bag, or his handling of Occupy Wall Street.
Based on this and other exit interviews he's given in recent months, Kelly seems to be under the impression that even acknowledging a single misstep—and let's give him the benefit of the doubt, and assume Kelly has had the city's best interests at heart this whole time, even if many disenfranchised New Yorkers VERY MUCH don't feel that way—would completely undermine, or destroy, his legacy.
No public officials are above close examination—especially not someone who decided somewhere along the line that a controversial tactic like stop-and-frisk wasn't just one police tool, but rather an unimpeachable catch-all tool that solves all of NYC's problems. Even Bloomberg doesn't seem this stubborn.