By Murray Weiss
NEW YORK CITY -- The bill taxpayers will have to pay to protect Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly when he leaves office next month just got bigger.
The NYPD's Intelligence Division -- with Kelly's input -- is recommending that Kelly take with him a 10-officer complement of taxpayer-funded bodyguards, up from the six-officer detail the commissioner had wanted last month.
The detail will now include a lieutenant, three sergeants and six detectives to chauffeur and protect Kelly and his family around-the-clock in the Big Apple and even out of town after he ends his 12-year run atop Police Headquarters -- at an estimated cost of more than $1.5 million a year, sources estimate.
In six months, the NYPD will reassess Kelly's security needs, the sources say.
"On The Inside" previously reported that Kelly would have a six-detective detail -- the members of which have already been notified by Kelly, sources said. But the Intelligence Division upped the total to add a lieutenant to oversee the entire detail and a sergeant paired with every two-detective team, sources said.
Considering that the average salary of those officers is $140,000 and adding overtime, the total cost to provide around-the-clock coverage for the spry 74-year-old commissioner could top $1.5 million, sources said.
The detail will require approval from Kelly's successor and City Hall.
"On The Inside" also reported Mayor Michael Bloomberg will be taking virtually his entire contingent of officers with him -- about 17 -- but they will retire from the force and the billionaire mayor will then hire them at about $150,000 each.
In post-9/11 New York, Kelly has made himself the face of fighting crime and terrorism in the Big Apple, and has argued he's a target of threats, in need of continuing protection.
This will be the second time Kelly exited Police Headquarters with NYPD protection.
In 1994, after Kelly served as police commissioner for 18 months under Mayor David Dinkins, he kept one detective to chauffeur and escort him around town. After four months, the detective was restored to regular police duties.
Generally, ex-commissioners eschew city-funded protection or pay for it themselves if they can afford it, or ultimately ask any future private sector employer to pick up the tab.
Only one other police commissioner has ever accepted taxpayer-funded police protection after leaving office.
In August 2000, Howard Safir, who was commissioner for four years, took a 12-member contingent to protect him around the clock. He said the security was necessary because of vague threats against him.
After seven months, the detail was pared down to a sergeant and seven detectives. At the time, the size of his detail was sharply criticized by NYPD observers and good government groups.
Former commissioner Bernard Kerik, who was in his post on 9/11, took no security. After leaving office, he worked for Giuliani Partners, which funded his protection until he was sentenced to four years in prison on corruption charges.
Former police commissioner Bill Bratton also declined publicly financed security when he departed the NYPD.