Sunday, July 5, 2020

Ralph Cipriano: Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw: Not On Vacation And Not Into Sound Bites

The late, great conservative writer, editor and TV host of Firing Line was once asked why then-Senator Bobby Kennedy did not appear on Firing Line.

“Why does baloney reject the meat grinder?” Buckley replied.

So you have to respect Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw (seen in the above photo) for agreeing to be interviewed by Ralph Cipriano (seen in the below photo), a veteran reporter and frequent and harsh critic of Mayor Kenney, Philly D.A. Larry Krasner and the commissioner herself. 

The interview appeared at

Every few weeks, a new rumor sweeps through the Philadelphia Police Department about new Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw.

In May, one of the earliest rumors had Outlaw heading back to the West Coast, to take over as police chief in her native Oakland. Other rumors had an unhappy Outlaw negotiating a buyout, and packing her bags for other locales.

This week, the big rumor was that Outlaw was supposedly out of the office on a two-week vacation sandwiched around the July 4th holiday, when all days off for cops have been canceled for Saturday, because a fresh round of protests is expected in the birthplace of democracy. As a joke, somebody sent around a photo of a milk carton with the police commissioner's face on it, under the caption, "Missing. Have You Seen Me? If found, contact Philly Police."

"Bullshit rumors trying to undermine her," snapped Managing Director Brian Abernathy, when asked about the Outlaw on vacation rumor; he referred further comment to the police department.

But today, instead of having a department flack issue a statement, Outlaw decided to address the latest rumor personally. Not true about that vacation, she stated firmly in a phone interview today. "As you know there's rumors that just run amok" at the Philly P.D. But contrary to rumors, Outlaw said, "I'm here and I'll be working this weekend."

In her first four months on the job, Outlaw has had to deal with an officer getting murdered in the line of duty, a pandemic, and the George Floyd protests that the department clearly was unprepared for. The protests quickly devolved into riots, looting and arson fires that left the city with hundreds of millions of dollars in property damages.

As one crisis after another hit the P.D., Outlaw came under steady criticism from inside and outside the department for not being visible enough on the job, at venues like crime scenes, press conferences, and the front lines when protesters were storming the city. 

As one veteran police commander put it, "A police commissioner is expected to be seen by the troops, standing shoulder-to-shoulder, fighting alongside them. Not sitting in the comfort of her office, which is apparently all she does all day."

Asked about the visibility issue, Outlaw says that mugging for the cameras is not her style. And instead of hiding in her office, she's says she's out and about in the city, but on her own terms.

"I'll drive around and pop up at precincts," she said. "It's not planned. It's more authentic. When I show up I don't travel with cameras, I don't do things for cameras." 

You can read the rest of the piece via the below link:

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