Will the NYPD get its first Latino police commissioner?

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NEW YORK (PIX11) – Who will replace Ray Kelly?  Love him or hate him Commissioner Kelly will leave the NYPD with his legacy as a crime-fighter in a class all its own.

While his style of management may have alienated some, it has also attracted a diverse recruiting classes — the biggest percentage being Latinos.

“Since I have been commissioner, the number of Latino officers has gone up by 24 percent,” said Commissioner Kelly at a news conference on Tuesday.

The double-digit surge of Latino officers in the NYPD now reflects the number of Latinos living in the city, which is approximately 27%.

The increase is already having an impact within the ranks, “You can see it happening now, the dramatic increase above the rank of sergeant and obviously above the rank of captain which are discretionary appointments.”

The most pivotal appointment will be made by Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio in the coming weeks. The appointment of course is Commissioner’s Kelly’s replacement.

The NYPD Hispanic Society has been openly campaigning for Rafael Pineiro, the First Deputy Commissioner to Commissioner Kelly, who if tapped by Mayor-elect de Blasio will become the city’s first Latino commissioner.

Past NYPD Hispanic Society President, Jeffrey Stella, a retired NYPD detective, told PIX 11 News that the campaign has nothing to do with race, but rather qualifications, “We strongly believe that if you were to take his name off the resume and you were to compare his name to any other candidate, you would take the name out and say this is the guy for us.”

Pineiro, who graduated at the top of his class at the academy in 1970, has a law degree as well as a masters. He’s also been on the streets.  Stella says if he’s not selected it will be viewed negatively on the force and in the community, “The message it will send, is we’re not always basing on who is more qualified then.”