New Philly police commissioner meets hundreds of employees, answers questions

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Hundreds of rank and file filled a ballroom to meet new Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw during her second week on the job.

Retired and active members of the Philadelphia police union packed the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge #5 ballroom Wednesday morning where Outlaw answered their questions.

"I think it's important for them to feel comfortable enough to share whatever it is they want to share with me. We're all working through some very exciting times of opportunity, but there's times of change and reform as well," Outlaw said.

Union leadership said no other recent commissioner held a meet and greet in the past after being appointed to the position.

"What I'm looking for in a commissioner is a boss that identifies with the working personnel," said Lt. Myesha Massey. "Anybody who can actually relate to us because with policing, we're one big family and that's essential. And it's also important that we feel like a family so that we can send that same love and affection out to the community."

With more than 6,500 employees, those who make up the fourth largest police department in the country said they like their bosses to be approachable.

"I think it's really important that she meets everybody this way and it kind of humanizes us as officers. We're just as excited to see her and she is to see us. And we're like, 'oh my gosh, it's the commissioner,' and we get to have that one-on-one time with her, which isn't normally something that you get," said Officer Jen Decky.

Outlaw is tasked with helping to reduce rising homicide rates, along with internal issues of claims of gender and race discrimination.

"From what I've seen and what I've heard, she seems to be a very innovative leader. I'm looking forward to it personally. The first black female making history in the Philadelphia police department. That's huge for me," said Officer Mark Goodson.

The act of getting to know everyone is also seen as a big deal and step in the right direction among union leadership.

"This goes a long way for moral. If you think it doesn't, believe me, it really does," said union president John McNesby.

Outlaw started on Feb. 10 after a search that lasted nearly four months to fill the position. The city considered more than 30 candidates and 18 of them were from inside the department.
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