Mayor Jim Kenney declared on Monday that the next police commissioner of Philadelphia is Portland, Ore., Police Chief Danielle Outlaw. The announcement is expected to be made official Monday afternoon.
Outlaw succeeds Acting Commissioner Christine Coulter, who took over in August after the sudden resignation of Commissioner Richard Ross.
According to the Portland city website, after 20 years of service with the Oakland, CA Police Department, Chief Danielle Outlaw, 44, was sworn in as Chief of Police of the Portland Police Bureau on October 2, 2017. She decreased Portland’s crime rates and addressed new policies regarding excessive force against those dealing with mental health issues.
She was the first African- American woman to hold the position, and she will also be the first African- American woman to lead the Philadelphia department.
“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,” Kenney said in a statement. “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. These are issues that too often negatively impact women — especially women of color — within the Department.”
According to Outlaw, the new element in her task of leading the 6,500 member department is the city, because the challenge is not new to her.
“While I am new to Philadelphia, I am not new to the challenges of big-city, 21st century policing. 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,” Outlaw said in a statement. “And I directly addressed these issues while leading the police force in Portland, Oregon.”
She added that “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.”
Following Ross´ administration which was marked by police corruption scandals some to some community leaders, demands reform both in procedure and training.
While working in Oakland, Outlaw won the 2015 Gary Hayes Award for her leadership and innovation in law enforcement. She also has presented on topics like race and policing, women in law enforcement, de-escalation and investigating use of force, building community relations and police accountability.
Outlaw earned a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from the University of San Francisco and a Master of Business Administration from Pepperdine University.
She is also a graduate of the Police Executive Research Forum Senior Management Institute of Police, the Major Cities Chiefs’ Association Police Executive Leadership Institute and the FBI National Executive Institute.