Former NYC police commissioner named to head Homeland Security

| Friday, December 03, 2004

Bernard Kerik, former New York police commissioner, has been nominated by President Bush as the next secretary of homeland security, the White House announced Friday, Dec. 3.

“Bernie Kerik is one of the most accomplished and effective leaders of law enforcement in America,” the president said in prepared remarks. “In his career, he has served as an enlisted military police officer in Korea, a jail warden in New Jersey, a beat cop in Manhattan, New York City corrections commissioner and as New York’s 40th police commissioner – an office once held by Teddy Roosevelt. In every position, he has demonstrated a deep commitment to justice, a heart for the innocent, and a record of great success.”

Kerik must be confirmed by the Senate before he will officially hold the post now occupied by former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge, the first person to occupy the post when the Cabinet-level department was established after the September 11 attacks.

The president’s nominee was police commissioner in New York City on September 11, 2001. Bush noted in his introduction that Kerik arrived at the World Trade Center shortly after the first plane hit and was present when the towers fell.

In addition to his stint as police commission, Kerik was an enlisted military police officer in Korea, a jail warden in New Jersey, a beat cop in Manhattan and was head of New York City’s jails.

The agency Kerik will oversee includes the Transportation Security Administration, as well as several other agencies that have a direct impact on the trucking industry.

Kerik appeared with Bush during the announcement, made in the Roosevelt Room at the White House. He called the president a “strong, effective and inspirational leader in the war for freedom and against terror,” and said Ridge was a “a decorated veteran, faithful public servant, and courageous trail blazer.”

“Should I receive the consent of the Senate, I will devote every power I possess toward fulfilling the vital mission you have set before me and the Department of Homeland Security,” he said. “Our nation is truly safer because of Secretary Ridge and his tireless efforts.”

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