Danielle Outlaw is the first Black woman to become Philadelphia’s new police commissioner.
Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney broke the news on Monday.
Kenney said in a press release that she is certain that the new commissioner has all it takes to reform and tackle the issues that plague the police department.
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“…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,” the mayor stressed.
Outlaw, 43, had previously served for two years as the chief of police in Portland, Oregon, where she was also the first Black woman to hold that position, according to Philadelphia’s Action News reports.
As the first black woman to lead Philadelphia’s troubled police department, Outlaw said she would be a “conduit” between the community and police to address the racist and sexist tensions dividing the force.
“My sons are 21 and 18. I understand the fear that’s out there in our communities of the police. I understand the mistrust. I understand also, on the other side, why we do what we do in law enforcement,” Outlaw said during a press conference at Philadelphia City Hall.
“If I have to be the conduit, I’ll be the conduit,” she said.
Outlaw is taking over a department that has been largely noted for sexual harassment and racial discrimination following Richard Ross Jr.’s resignation.
Ross Jr. reportedly resigned as Philadelphia’s police commissioner last year following sexual harassment complaints he allegedly ignored because he’d had an affair with one of the complaining officers.
According to reports, about 22% of the city’s 6,500 officers are female which is more than half of the city’s population.
There have been quite a number of lawsuits recently accusing the department of ignoring complaints that female officers were being sexually harassed by colleagues and supervisors.
Outlaw was chosen from among 31 applicants. She is expected to resume her new role on February 10, 2020.
Watch Outlaw introducing herself during a News Conference on December 30, 2019: