By Paula Katinas
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
As Bill Bratton prepared to take command of the New York Police Department, the outgoing commissioner was being lauded at a breakfast in Flatbush organized by a state lawmaker and a soon-to-be councilman.
Nearly 200 people, including elected officials and community leaders, gathered at the Canal Jeans Building in Flatbush Wednesday morning for an Appreciation Breakfast for Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly hosted by state Sen. Simcha Felder (D-Borough Park-Midwood-parts of Flatbush) and Councilman-elect Chaim Deutsch (D-Sheepshead Bay-Brighton Beach).
Felder called Kelly “the best police commissioner New York City has ever had.”
Felder and Deutsch, who are both Jewish, presented Kelly with a mezuzah. A mezuzah, according to Chabad's website, is a symbol of God’s watchful eye of protection over a home. It is traditionally mounted over a doorpost.
“You have kept us and our families safe for the last 12 years,” Felder told Kelly. “We thank you for your service, and present this mezuzah – a symbol of protection and safety – to you as a token of our appreciation,” he said.
“Today is all about gratitude, about saying ‘thank you’ to an individual that I consider to be the quintessential public servant,” Felder said.
“Studies show that every neighborhood in the city is flourishing despite the economy because crime is down,” Felder said. “With the help of God, New York city has not experienced a terrorist attack since 9/11. The city has come back in every way since 9/11, and it is due in large measure to the safety and security all New Yorkers have enjoyed during Commissioner Kelly’s tenure."
Deutsch also heaped praise on the outgoing police commissioner. “Raymond Kelly has led the New York City Police Department with pride and distinction. He has gone above and beyond the call of duty and helped bring the NYPD to where it is today,” Deutsch said. “There’s a reason that the NYPD is hailed as the greatest police department in the world."
Deutsch, the founder of the Flatbush Shomrim, a citizen’s patrol group, was also praised by Felder. “It is fitting that you, as the founder of the Flatbush Shomrim, are here today to help pay tribute to NYPD Commissioner Raymond Kelly,” Felder told him.
“Both the Flatbush and the Borough Park Shomrim have a long history of working together with the Police Department to keep our streets and neighborhoods safe. We are all grateful to the Shomrim for their cooperation and assistance,” Felder said. Borough Park also has a Shomrim citizen’s patrol group.
In his remarks, Kelly noted that after the Sept. 11 attacks, people said New York City was “doomed.” But the city bounced back, he said.
Kelly warned, however, that the city must remain vigilant against terrorism. He shared the fact that 16 terrorist attacks against New York City have been thwarted since 9/11.
The commissioner also acknowledged the work of his top commanders and the men and women of the NYPD. He was a privilege to lead them, he said.
Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio recently announced that he had selected Bratton, who served as police commissioner in the Giuliani Administration, to be the city's top cop once again.