Police Commissioner Outlaw talks gun violence at her first City Council hearing

Pat Loeb
February 21, 2020 - 4:00 am
Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw at her first City Council hearing.

Pat Loeb/KYW Newsradio

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Philadelphia's new police commissioner made her first appearance in City Council Thursday, testifying at a hearing of the Special Committee on Gun Violence Prevention.

Danielle Outlaw got a warm reception from Councilmembers and an earful from families of murder victims.

Councilmembers, including Allan Domb, urged her to ask for whatever she needs.

"Whatever tools you need. If you need to hire more police, if you need more technology or if you need more cameras, whatever you need," Domb said. 

Outlaw testified for about 10 minutes, mostly reviewing activities that — it's safe to say — she is only just becoming acquainted with in her second week on the job. But she talked about what would be her guiding principles.

"I believe in the very basic tenets of procedural justice: voice, neutrality, respect and trust. I believe in the inclusion of local, state and federal partners, I believe in the use of data to inform strategic deployment of resources," she said. 

Then Outlaw listened. 

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For two hours, she heard tortured accounts from families of murder victims. Mothers In Charge founder Dorothy Speight urged better communication from homicide detectives. 

"A call to remind me you are working my child's case lets me know that you care and it gives me a sense of relief to know that something is being done," Speight said.

Stanley Crawford, whose son's murder remains unsolved, urged her to clean house. 

"If you got a homicide detective unit that can't solve murders, you need to clear it out and get those who can. Don't give us excuses about the workload. Listen, if I'm in the murdering business, Philadelphia's a good town to be in," Crawford said. 

Outlaw responded sympathetically.

"I want to acknowledge the pain in this room. I've said it before, as the mother of two sons, I don't know what I would do. I would be inconsolable, so I can't even imagine," she said.