PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — She blazed a trail from Portland to become the first African-American woman to become Philadelphia’s police commissioner. This week, Danielle Outlaw is hitting the streets at a time when the city’s crime statistics are staggering and officials say a new culture is needed in the force.
Wednesday was Outlaw’s third day on the job.READ MORE: CBS3 Mysteries: Detectives Searching For Man They Believe Can Help Solve Santino Thomas' Murder Case
Outlaw says being a mother to two college-aged sons is a role intertwined with her position as a law enforcement official.
The West Coast native now heads the force of the nation’s sixth-largest city.
In a half-hour sit-down interview with CBS3, the new police commissioner revealed some of her plans and how she’ll begin to tackle running the 6,500-member force.
While administering to this large department is a significant talking point, the tragedy that has beset Philadelphia’s own youth population is what most in crime-ridden neighborhoods want to hear about.
“January was rough but there’s a lot of things going on that’s been happening long before January,” Outlaw said. “It’s not just here, but all over.”READ MORE: Sharon Hill Borough Council Launches Independent Investigation Into Fatal Shooting Of 8-Year-Old Fanta Bility
Philadelphia has, in recent months, endured a surge in violent crimes and killings.
While there are solutions to help combat that, Outlaw says there must also be a management of expectations of how much one police department can do.
“We enter this profession as guardians, protectors of public safety. I think of it as a parent, you feel helpless when something happens to your child and either you weren’t there to prevent it from happening or using parents’ powers to make sure that other kids were protected, as well.”
There was also the scandal involving members of the department posting disparaging, and in some cases, racist things on social media. That’s something she’s monitoring.
Outlaw describes her days as extremely busy with endless tasks.
“I’m my biggest critic in that there’s not enough hours in the day and given that I’m so driven to get so much done, I want to make sure that things get done in a timely manner but I also realize I can’t burn myself out too,” Outlaw said.MORE NEWS: 19-Year-Old Man Killed In Double Shooting Inside Port Richmond Home, Police Say
Outlaw says she plans to take 30 days to assess the organizational infrastructure of the police department before making moves.