Danielle Outlaw Makes History as First Black Woman Commissioner of Philadelphia Police Department
Danielle Outlaw, a 43-year-old police officer, is making history as the first black woman to become Commissioner of the Philadelphia Police Department. Outlaw’s feat comes after a similar achievement in another city.
Outlaw has been making a name for herself in the police force for over two decades. After becoming the first black woman to serve as chief of the Portland Police Bureau, she is now set to do the same thing in Philly.
A black woman will serve as the next commissioner of the Philadelphia Police Department — a first for a division that has been grappling with racial turmoil and a series of leadership changes in the past year. https://t.co/s4WJUui4DQ— NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt (@NBCNightlyNews) January 2, 2020
According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, Outlaw takes over from another female, Christine Coulter, who has served as the interim commissioner following the controversial resignation of former Police Commissioner Richard Ross Jr. in August 2019.
Outlaw has been criticized on several occasions by both liberals and conservatives but has never lost the ability to stand by her actions
“I cannot do this alone… I ask each of you for more than your support. I ask for your help, your thoughts, your wisdom, and your ideas,” Outlaw said during an introductory press conference in Philadelphia, per the outlet.
Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw talked about being the first black woman to lead the city’s force. She says her perspective is unique because she understands the mistrust on one side and the mission of law enforcement on the other. @DannCuellar has more at 11pm pic.twitter.com/WGOlwIPJDb— Action News on 6abc (@6abc) December 31, 2019
“Most importantly, your time. Because I do not know what I do not know. This is not an us versus them, one side against the other. We can be supportive of police and we can be supportive of police accountability at the same time. They are not mutually exclusive.”
Danielle Outlaw Becomes Philadelphia’s First Black Woman Police Commissioner https://t.co/0dZ1zSmPYI— Black Enterprise (@blackenterprise) January 2, 2020
According to Essence, Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney announced Outlaw’s appointment on December 30, expressing the hope that Outlaw will be successful in tackling the issue of Philadelphia Police Department’s marred image.
The city’s PD has been plagued with sexual harassment and racial discrimination complaints, and Ross Jr. reportedly resigned after allegedly ignoring sexual harassment complaints because he’d had an affair with one of the complaining officers.
Philly’s new police commissioner Danielle Outlaw once won $40,000 on Wheel of Fortune https://t.co/TO5RFK3dJV— The Philadelphia Inquirer (@PhillyInquirer) January 2, 2020
In a press statement obtained by Essence, Mayor Kenney said:
“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.”
In taking over in Philly, Danielle Outlaw would lead the fourth-largest municipal police department in the U.S., which has about 6,600 sworn officers and 800 civilian employees. Here are some things to know about her background and experience: https://t.co/4kOEMCMLJD— The Philadelphia Inquirer (@PhillyInquirer) December 30, 2019
“With our support, she will tackle a host of difficult issues, from racism and gender discrimination to horrid instances of sexual assault on fellow officers,” he added. “These are issues that too often negatively impact women – especially women of color – within the Department.
As CNN reported, Outlaw also added that, besides executing reforms, she'd also be working hard to reduce gun violence and overall crime, and to support community members equitably.
One of the many challenges facing new Philadelphia police commissioner Danielle Outlaw: the city's gun violence. More people were shot in in the city this year than in any other year since 2010. https://t.co/53Z4Yy7c0L— The Philadelphia Inquirer (@PhillyInquirer) December 30, 2019
Before her appointment in Philadelphia, Outlaw spent 20 years on the force in her hometown of Oakland, California, and another two years as police chief in Portland. She also delivered a 2018 TedxPortland talk about Policing in America.
Outlaw is a sociology graduate of the University of San Francisco and has a Master of Business Administration from Pepperdine University. The 5 ft. 4 cop also reportedly has a tattoo quote that reads: “Though she be but little, she is fierce.”
Per the Inquirer, Outlaw has been criticized on several occasions by both liberals and conservatives but has never lost the ability to stand by her actions and instructions, no matter how unpopular.
Outlaw is reportedly expected to resume her new role as Commissioner with the Philadelphia Police Department in early February.