Philadelphia Police Commissioner Outlaw won’t be leaving for top NYPD job

A closeup of Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw

Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw speaks at the one-year update on the City’s Pathways to Reform, Transformation, and Reconciliation work. (Emma Lee/WHYY)

New York Mayor-elect Eric Adams’ shortlist of candidates to lead the nation’s largest police force got a lot shorter Tuesday night, when he chose Nassau County Police Chief of Detectives Keechant Sewell as the NYPD’s new commissioner. That means Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw is not resigning to relocate about 95 miles north.

Rumors that Outlaw would be leaving her post here to take the position in New York had been surging for weeks because of reports that she was a contender for the job.

The speculation spilled over into last week’s virtual gun violence briefing, when Outlaw was asked a direct question about her possible departure. At the time, she dismissed the rumors as, “just out there, and it’s wild and it’s out of control.”

Still, Outlaw did not close the door on a move. She said she was flattered by the “honorable mention,” and directed reporters to reach out to New York if they had any questions about “their process.”

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She told reporters that “if I had something to share with you, I promise you I would. I don’t have anything to share with the public.”

Ultimately, Outlaw declined to answer when a reporter from The Philadelphia Inquirer asked whether she had applied for the position in New York.

During Outlaw’s short tenure in Philadelphia — she took over as police commissioner in February 2020 — she has been a magnet for controversy. She faced calls to resign over her handling of the protests that followed the murder of George Floyd by police in Minneapolis, and the use of tear gas against demonstrators that occurred on her watch.

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In New York, Sewell, 49, will replace Dermot Shea, who is retiring from the NYPD after 30 years, the last two as commissioner. She’ll start in the position when Adams takes office on Jan. 1, 2022.

Adams, a former NYPD captain, had promised to hire a woman as commissioner. Other candidates included Outlaw, former Seattle Chief Carmen Best, former Newark chief Ivonne Roman, and NYPD Chief of Patrol Juanita Holmes.


The Associated Press contributed reporting.

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