Danielle Outlaw, Commissioner of the Philadelphia Police Department declared Thursday on a Good Day Philadelphia interview that she has no intentions of resigning. She also clarified that Mayor Jim Kenney had not asked her to resign.
The department’s response to unrest in May and June has prompted calls for her resignation over the use of tear gas against demonstrators.
“That happened in the summer, several months ago. Almost in real-time, there were a lot of lessons learned,” Outlaw said during the interview reported by Fox29. “We adapted, we adjusted, we were introspective and we implemented necessary changes. I think we’ve seen that what occurred over the summer hasn’t happened again. I think one of the biggest things we need to take away from this is that we adapted and we were willing to acknowledge where there were missteps.”
Next week will mark one year since Danielle Outlaw took over as the Commissioner of the Philadelphia Police Department. The California native has faced since then, a difficult scenario while fighting crime in Philadelphia.
After becoming the first African American woman to hold the post as Philadelphia’s top law enforcement officer on Feb. 10, 2020, the city has dealt with the coronavirus pandemic and a spring and summer highlighted by civil unrest.
Last year was also one of the most violent years in Philadelphia´s history with 499 homicides and 2,246 shooting victims. 196 of those victims were under the age of 18.
Meanwhile, during the current year, the city has reported 51 homicides as of February 3, which represents a 34% increase from the same time last year.
The prevention side
With this complicated violence surge, Outlaw is projecting to work more on the ‘prevention side.’
“We’ve got to pay attention to themes and patterns,” she said. “What 2020 showed us is that there are a lot of commonalities as it related to social media, social media beef. We saw an increase in our domestic violence-related incidents of violent crime or homicides. And then we also saw that a lot of the shootings and homicides were driven by narcotics.”
Outlaw explained the department is doing what it can to reinforce its social media efforts with detectives and analysts. The department will also be partnering with community groups and the Office of Violence Prevention to get ahead of domestic violence incidents and reprioritize those incidents internally.
“Each one is a gut punch,” Outlaw said of the city’s homicides and she added that while each one takes a toll, it also provides motivation to get ahead of the violence, especially when the victim is a member of a vulnerable population.
“If we start fixing some of the issues that are leading to this violence, some of this mentality, the need for conflict resolution in schools, and all of the things we need to address when folks are at much younger ages, if we actually fully embrace that, maybe somewhere down the road we start to put a dent in this,” Outlaw added.