Danielle Outlaw Becomes Philadelphia’s First Black Woman Police Commissioner

Danielle Outlaw Becomes Philadelphia’s First Black Woman Police Commissioner

Philadelphia has hired Danielle Outlaw, making her the first black woman police commissioner hired to lead the city, according to ABC News.

Outlaw was previously the police chief of Portland, Oregon, where she was also the first black woman to hold that position. She had been Portland’s chief of police since 2017. She was appointed to the latest position this week by Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney.

In a press release, Mayor Kenney said, “I think constantly about what it takes to be a police officer. Our men and women in blue leave home each day knowing they are about to put their lives at risk to protect our community, and that even on a good day they are likely to encounter extremely challenging and disturbing situations. I know officers take on this sworn duty, first and foremost, to help Philadelphians. Their devotion to public service is never forgotten.”

“But make no mistake: while I have tremendous respect for our officers, the Philadelphia Police Department needs reform. I am appointing Danielle Outlaw because I am convinced she has the conviction, courage, and compassion needed to bring long-overdue reform to the Department. After meeting and speaking with her at length, I came away confident that Danielle Outlaw possesses the strength, integrity, and empathy vital to the tasks ahead.

Outlaw is taking over the department four months after former police commissioner Richard Ross resigned amidst allegations that his department had engaged in sexual harassment and racial and gender discrimination amongst its ranks.

“I am honored by the faith that Mayor Kenney is placing in me to lead the Philadelphia Police Department. While I am new to Philadelphia, I am not new to the challenges of big-city, 21st century policing,” Outlaw said. “I encountered and dealt with the issues of employee health and wellness, equity, contemporary training, crime, fair and just prosecution, community trust, homelessness, substance abuse, police accountability, and innovation and technology—just to name a few—as I worked various assignments and rose through the ranks in Oakland, California. And I directly addressed these issues while leading the police force in Portland, Oregon.

“Modern policing is data-driven, but the paramount factor is not so easily quantified: trust—the trust residents have that their police force will keep them safe and treat them with respect. I am convinced that trust can be restored, here and across the nation. I am convinced community-police relations can be rebuilt and fortified through dialogue, transparency, and accountability.

“It will be a privilege to serve as Philadelphia Police Commissioner and to serve all who live and work in this great city. I will work relentlessly to reduce crime in Philadelphia—particularly the insidious gun violence that plagues too many communities. And I will do so in a way that ensures all people are treated equitably regardless of their gender identity, race, ethnicity, or sexual orientation. I am convinced there can be humanity in authority; they are not mutually exclusive. That was true in Oakland and in Portland, and I know it is true here in Philadelphia.”

Outlaw is a member of the International Association of Chiefs of Police Human and Civil Rights Committee, as well as the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives.