Napolitano resigns; Kelly next Homeland Security chief? - KMSP-TV

Napolitano resigns; Kelly next Homeland Security chief?

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NEW YORK (MYFOXNY) -

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano announced her resignation Friday to take over the University of California system, leaving behind a huge department still working to adjust to the merger of nearly two dozen agencies after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

It's not clear who President Obama is considering for the high level security post, but two lawmakers say the right man for the job is here in New York City.

Some are calling Napolitano's decision to become a university president unconventional since normally those positions are held by academics -- not national level politicians.

What's not surprising is the buzz surrounding NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly as her potential replacement.

In the wake of Napolitano stepping down to become President of the University of California, several leaders are publically recommending Kelly for the job. Homeland security is an agency with an annual $60 million budget and 240,000 employees.

Its primary tasks: to handle natural disasters and keep the country safe from terrorists.    

"New York's loss would be America's gain. Ray Kelly has extensive experience with anti-terrorism, with homeland security run a very large organization for over a decade," said Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY).   

A lifelong New Yorker, Kelly has spent over four decades in the NYPD, serving as police commissioner from 1992 to 1994 and again from 2002 to the present.

In 2011, Kelly was also publically recommended to be FBI Director. Kelly also revamped the NYPD by creating the first counterterrorism bureau of any municipal police department in the country.

Congressman Peter King (R-NY) says the exceptional job Kelly has done to keep New York City, a top terror target safe, makes Kelly the only logical choice.

"The only reason we haven't been successfully attacked is because the great job Ray Kelly has done here in New York and also in the last several years, we have gotten more Homeland Security funding. That has to continue in Washington, D.C. and would ensure that New York and Long Island region is protected."

Fox 5 reached out to the commissioner's office for comment and didn't really receive an answer. Earlier, Commissioner Kelly did release a statement praising Napolitano.

"Secretary Napolitano never lost sight of the fact that New York City was on the top of the terrorist target list and acted accordingly in funding important initiatives, including Securing the Cities. She performed a great public service not only for New York City but for the nation at large."

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