Philadelphia police commissioner reflects on first year on job

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Philadelphia's top cop hit a milestone this week.

Danielle Outlaw has been on the job one year as police commissioner, and what an unpredictable and unprecedented year it has been.

Outlaw says so much was happening so fast over the past 12 months she found herself having to be reactionary and that it never let up.

A deadly virus, civil unrest, nearly 500 homicides, the loss of six officers and criticism of her performance. She acknowledges she has to be more visible and communicate more with residents.

"I didn't have the opportunity to just go out and say, 'Here's who we are. Here's my vision. You want to know more about me?' Because it's been one thing after another," said Outlaw. "Moving into 2021, we have to find a creative way to engage within the parameters or confines of this pandemic so they can know what's going on in this department, all of the different things that are happening, all of the things that are underway. So they know their department will not only be a leader in this profession nationally and internationally, but here are all the great things that have taken place, so people know who we are."

As for rising homicides in the city, the commissioner says a 5-year strategic plan is in place and positive changes are happening. Resources have been increased in areas where the data shows it's warranted.

Plus, a new temporary district has been established in Kensington with 38 additional officers and bolstering the narcotics unit since, Outlaw says, drugs are driving many of the shootings.

Outlaw says her men and women in blue are working hard on the frontlines, but says that solving the crime issues will take collaborative work from other agencies and the community.
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