Philly’s new police commissioner sees using holistic approach as way to solve city’s crime problems

Kristen Johanson
February 12, 2020 - 8:19 pm
Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw.

Kristen Johanson/KYW Newsradio

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Even though she’s only three days in as Philadelphia’s new police commissioner, Danielle Outlaw has been researching the city, its leaders and why Philadelphia is facing so much violence. 

  

While transitioning from Portland to Philadelphia, Outlaw has also been analyzing city crime statistics, organization charts and trying to understand the departments as a whole. 

"But then also what are some things that work really well. I mean, this police department has been around for a very long time, there’s some strong, committed, capable people here already and I am going to be relying on them to bring me up to speed but also to be trusted advisors," she said. 

Outlaw vows to observe for the first month, getting to know the districts, policies and city leaders. 

She sees solving Philly’s crime problem from a holistic approach. 

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"We also know that we can’t be everywhere at once, but we also know that there are factors that lead to the surge in crime that we see," she said. 

She plans to work with all city leaders, even the ones who don’t get along — it’s no secret that police union president John McNesby and District Attorney Larry Krasner have had issues.

"If I don’t do anything else, I am going to bring people to the table that otherwise would not have come to the table before, because you realize that you get far more done when we work together when we agree to disagree than when we are butting heads," she said.

Outlaw says she won’t get in the middle of any public feuds or spats, but will remain focused on continuing to drive down crime. 

"We have shared goals and as a leader, I am going to make sure that we stay on that path to work to where we are supposed to be," she said.

This year, the police department also faces contract negotiations with the union, and although Outlaw can’t specify any details as talks have already started, she says she remains focused on resolving issues without compromising law enforcement.

"There has to be interpersonal skills used, emotional intelligence is important. All the things I say I recruit police officers for, to make sure they are effective communicators or human beings out in the community, still exist for us as leaders," Outlaw said. 

She adds that there should be appropriate consequences for violent offenders.

"I believe that we can enforce the law in a very compassionate way, but I also believe that if someone decides to take the life of another person, or they use guns or they do whatever they do in a violent way, that there has to be swift consequences. And it has to be strong enough so they know 'uh-oh' this probably something I should never do again," Outlaw added.