Kerik, after thanking Giuliani, expressed his gratitude to former mayor Koch. While working in Saudi Arabia in the early 1980s as a security supervisor, Kerik called the city Department of Personnel to get an application for the police force—and was twice hung up on.
He sent a letter to Koch, who personally responded, and soon received a half-dozen applications in the mail.
He was sworn in July 15, 1986.
Kerik has served as chairman of the Michael John Buczek Foundation that honors law enforcement officers nationwide. Buczek was an NYPD officer killed in the line of duty in 1988. Sgt. Kane said Kerik committed hundreds of hours of his own time to the foundation.
“I don’t think everybody at the NYPD knows how much he cares about cops,” Kane said. “The rank and file are going to love Bernie because he knows the foot cop story, the detective story, the boss’s story. He’s going to be able to relate to all of those people.”
Colleagues Praise Him
Kerik’s colleagues in the Corrections Department gave him high marks for boosting morale and reducing violence among inmates and against officers.
“He has a lot of credibility and is someone who has been able to communicate and make a working relationship with us,” said Norman Seabrook, the president of the Correction Officers’ Benevolent Association.
Kerik was named by Giuliani as Corrections Commissioner in January 1998. Prior to being commissioner, he was the Corrections First Deputy Commissioner, appointed that position in January 1995. He joined the department in 1994, and also has served as the executive assistant to the commissioner and as director of the Investigations Division.
Kerik, from Paterson, N.J., joined Corrections after serving eight years as an NYPD cop, spending much of his career as a narcotics detective in Manhattan. He received 30 police citations, including the Medal of Valor. He earned that award after surviving a 1991 shoot out in Washington Heights.
Kerik worked on the New York Drug Enforcement Administration task force, helping direct an investigation that resulted in the convictions of more than 60 members of the infamous Cali drug cartel.
Before joining the police force, Kerik served as a military police officer in the U.S. Army and as warden of the Passaic County Jail. A martial arts expert, Kerik spent four years in various security assignment in Saudi Arabia.
A high school dropout with an equivalency diploma, Kerik has been taking courses through Empire State College and is 24 credits short of a bachelor’s degree.