New York City Police Commisioner Ray Kelly

New York is lucky to have in Police Commissioner Ray Kelly a man who inspires confidence and embodies authority when a crisis hits New York.

Yesterday, when a gunman shot a former co-worker and two police officers shot him dead at the Empire State Building, Kelly was on the scene in a flash and within two hours had issued a complete account of what happened to the massed ranks of press.

It was a typical Kelly performance, crisp, confident and all business. Ironically standing behind him was the woman he could face in a race for New York Mayor next year if he so chooses to run.

Republicans in the city salivate at the idea that Kelly might run for them in 2013. He is the only candidate they could lure who could win the office. While he has not ruled out a run, it might take a lot for the 70-year-old to throw his hat in the ring.

Christine Quinn, the City Council speaker, took the opportunity of the shooting and the fact that it occurred in the district she represents to look tough on crime and tie herself to the popular mayor and police commissioner.

In every camera shot she was square jawed and serious, standing either directly beside or behind the mayor and the commissioner.

The word is Kelly and Quinn are not bosom buddies and the body language between them certainly indicated that.

It is easy to see why. According to polls, Quinn is easily outstripping her Democratic opponents and Kelly may be the only remaining block to her becoming mayor.

Kelly would certainly have a major shot, especially in the white Catholic boroughs where he would be very popular.

Chances are that he won’t run but it is no sure thing. In his response to the Empire State Building killings, Kelly showed again his calmness under pressure and ability to inspire confidence and a feeling of security.

Those are handy attributes if you are thinking of getting into the political game.