PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Philadelphia will have a new police commissioner come Monday — and she’s making history in the department. From the start, Danielle Outlaw will have plenty of issues to confront in Philly, everything from a skyrocketing homicide rate to ongoing allegations of racism and gender discrimination in the force.
Despite all of the issues within the nation’s fourth-largest city police force, many people in the city have high expectations for Outlaw.
“I’m new to Philadelphia. I’m not new to the challenges of a big city,” Outlaw said.
That was Outlaw back in December when she was first introduced as the next person to lead Philadelphia’s 6,500 men and women in blue.
“I’m sure she’ll bring tenacity,” state Rep. Joanna McClinton said.
McClinton represents West Philadelphia. As an African American woman, she expects Outlaw to change the culture in the Philadelphia Police Department.
That’s especially needed after last year. The department announced more than a dozen officers would be fired and many more disciplined for allegedly writing offensive Facebook posts.
“There’s a culture of racism and sexism, misogyny,” McClinton said. “We have to do something to get rid of that. And I look forward to her leadership in accomplishing those goals.”
“I expect that she’s going to be under a lot of pressure,” community activist Solomon Jones said.
Jones points out that Outlaw will also be tasked with trying to curb a spike in violence in Philadelphia.
2019 was the deadliest year in the city in more than a decade with nearly one homicide every day.
Compare that to Portland, where Outlaw comes from, which had 36 homicides for all of 2019.
“Given she is a black woman and has had to come up in an organization where it’s not dominated by people like her, I think she’s going to be more savvy than people know,” Jones said.
Outlaw replaces Acting Police Commissioner Christine Coulter.