Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw Resigns

Beth Brelje
By Beth Brelje
September 5, 2023US News
Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw Resigns
Philadelphia Police Department Commissioner Danielle Outlaw speaks during a press conference at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia on Nov. 6, 2020. (Charlotte Cuthbertson/The Epoch Times)

Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle M. Outlaw is exiting the Philadelphia Police Department and moving to a new job at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, where she will serve as deputy chief security officer, according to a statement from the office of Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney.

Ms. Outlaw’s last day as police commissioner will be Sept. 22, and the mayor has appointed First Deputy John M. Stanford Jr. to act as interim police commissioner.

Ms. Outlaw has been commissioner for three and a half years. She started in the position Feb. 10, 2020, overseeing the department during the June 2020 Philadelphia riots that flared up in response to the death of George Floyd while in custody of police in Minnesota.

She has also served alongside controversial District Attorney Larry Krasner, who loosened prosecutions of drug, gun, and prostitution crimes, and there has been a movement to impeach him.

An October 2022 report from the Pennsylvania Legislature (pdf), written as part of the effort to impeach Mr. Krasner, details an explosion of Philadelphia crime and includes this sobering statistic: between Jan. 1, 2021, and Oct. 16, 2022, some 992 people died from homicide in Philadelphia. This is an increase compared to the 557 deaths resulting from homicides in 2015 and 2016 combined.

“The rate of non-fatal shootings has skyrocketed as well,” the report said, noting numerous children under age 6 with gunshot wounds.

Ms. Outlaw was the first black woman to lead the Philadelphia Police Department. When appointed, she was also one of few black female leaders of major city police departments in the country, the mayor’s statement said.


Before her time in Philadelphia, Ms. Outlaw was the first black woman to lead the Portland Police Bureau in Portland, Oregon.

“Commissioner Outlaw has worked relentlessly for three and a half years during an unprecedented era in our city and a number of crisis situations, and she deserves praise for her commitment to bring long-overdue reform to the department after years of racism and gender discrimination prior to her appointment,” Mr. Kenney said in the statement. “We wish her success in her new position and thank Commissioner Outlaw for her dedication to serve the residents of Philadelphia.”

Shortly after Ms. Outlaw became commissioner, Police Cpl. James O’Connor IV, a 23-year veteran and SWAT officer, was shot and killed on March 13, 2020, while serving an arrest warrant in Frankford. He was the first Philadelphia police officer to be killed in the line of duty in five years.

Mr. Kenney recounted some of the tasks Ms. Outlaw led during her time as commissioner.

She implemented an emergency plan in response to the COVID-19 pandemic status. The police force maintained schedules as essential workers and police continued to work throughout the pandemic even though they lost a number of officers in the line of duty because they contracted COVID and died.

Mr. Kenny used the announcement to advocate for gun control laws.

“As weak gun laws in Pennsylvania continue to allow illegal and legal guns to infiltrate our city, the commissioner and her team have stayed focused on new approaches to manage the gun violence crisis,” Mr. Kenny said in the statement.

“During the commissioner’s time as leader, a record-number of guns have been recovered, clearance rates have improved, and non-fatal shootings and homicides have decreased at a rate double the rate of some of the other major U.S. cities that have also seen decreases. Even with these successes, we continue to face the challenge of more guns on the streets than ever—but we’ve been able to decrease shootings and homicides and I give the commissioner and her team credit for making that happen.”

Ms. Outlaw said in the statement that it has been an honor to serve during Mr. Kenney’s administration and alongside the Philadelphia police.

“The hard work, resilience, and professionalism of our force is truly commendable. Our team has shown incredible adaptability and has worked tirelessly to maintain our pillars of organizational excellence, crime prevention and reduction, and community engagement and inclusion even in the face of adversity,” Ms. Outlaw said.

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