First Black Woman In History Hired To Lead Philadelphia Police Dept

Philadelphia, PA — Danielle Outlaw is the first Black woman ever to become Philadelphia’s police com­mis­sion­er. Her recent appoint­ment came just a few months after the depart­ment start­ed deal­ing with sev­er­al con­tro­ver­sies includ­ing the involve­ment of its for­mer com­mis­sion­er in sex­u­al harass­ment scan­dals.

Outlaw, who is from Oakland, pre­vi­ous­ly served as chief of police in Portland, Oregon since 2017. She is now the first Black woman ever to lead the Philadelphia police depart­ment, and the sec­ond woman over­all, fol­low­ing Christine Coulter, who served as the act­ing com­mis­sion­er since August.

In August, for­mer com­mis­sion­er Richard Ross, who is also Black, was forced to resign when a law­suit sur­faced accus­ing him of ignor­ing sex­u­al harass­ment claims of an offi­cer against a fel­low offi­cer. He was with the depart­ment in the last 30 years and was the com­mis­sion­er since January 2016.

Aside from the sev­er­al cas­es of gen­der and racial dis­crim­i­na­tion and harass­ment in the depart­ment, the crime rate and pover­ty lev­el also con­tin­ued to increase, push­ing the author­i­ties to appoint a new police com­mis­sion­er in hopes to curb it.

I am very qual­i­fied to make the jump,” Outlaw said in her intro­duc­to­ry press con­fer­ence. “The issues remain the same. I am very expe­ri­enced in each of them.”

Outlaw was cho­sen from 31 can­di­dates, 18 of which were from the Philadelphia force. When Mayor Jim Kenney announced her appoint­ment, many have been glad that the city chose a woman of col­or for the job.

Most of us are very encour­aged,” Philadelphia city coun­cil­woman Jannie L. Blackwell told the Philadelphia Inquirer about her fel­low coun­cil mem­bers. “They’re espe­cial­ly hap­py that she’s a woman — and hap­py of course that it’s an African American woman — but espe­cial­ly hap­py that she’s a woman.”