Mayor Kenney Appoints First Deputy Commissioner John M. Stanford, Jr. as Interim Police Commissioner


PHILADELPHIA —  Mayor Jim Kenney announced today that Police Commissioner Danielle M. Outlaw will be leaving the Philadelphia Police Department (PPD) to accept a new leadership position with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey as Deputy Chief Security Officer. Her last day as Police Commissioner will be September 22, 2023. The Mayor has appointed First Deputy John M. Stanford, Jr. to interim Police Commissioner.

Outlaw has been PPD’s Commissioner for three and a half years; she stepped into her role on February 10, 2020, as the City’s first Black woman to lead the Philadelphia Police Department. When appointed, Outlaw was also one of few Black female leaders of major city police departments in the country. Prior to coming to Philadelphia, she was also the first Black woman to lead the Portland, Oregon Police Department.

“Commissioner Outlaw has worked relentlessly for three and a half years during an unprecedented era in our city and a number of crisis situations, and she deserves praise for her commitment to bring long-overdue reform to the Department after years of racism and gender discrimination prior to her appointment,” said Mayor Jim Kenney. “We wish her success in her new position and thank Commissioner Outlaw for her dedication to serve the residents of Philadelphia.”

Less than six weeks after Outlaw assumed her role as Commissioner, Police Cpl. James O’Connor IV, a 23-year veteran and SWAT officer, was shot and killed on March 13, 2020 while serving an arrest warrant in Frankford. He was the first PPD officer to be killed in the line of duty in five years. Days later, the Commissioner had to create and implement an emergency plan as COVID-19 quickly reached pandemic status  and shut down the city and country, amid which the  police force needed to maintain consistent and overtime schedules as essential workers.  Two months later, the department faced another crisis moment with the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, which sparked civil unrest in the city and throughout the country.

In addition to these critical situations, the rising numbers of guns on the streets of Philadelphia has fed an unprecedented crisis of gun violence experienced by other major U.S. cities.

“As weak gun laws in Pennsylvania continue to allow illegal and legal guns to infiltrate our city, the Commissioner and her team have stayed focused on new approaches to manage the gun violence crisis,” said the Mayor. “During the Commissioner’s time as leader, a record-number of guns have been recovered, clearance rates have improved and non-fatal shootings and homicides have decreased at a rate double the rate of some of the other major U.S. cities that have also seen decreases. Even with these successes, we continue to face the challenge of more guns on the streets than ever – but we’ve been able to decrease shootings and homicides and I give the Commissioner and her team credit for making that happen.”

“It has been my honor and privilege to serve during Mayor Kenney’s administration and alongside each member of the Philadelphia Police Department,” said Commissioner Danielle Outlaw. “The hard work, resilience, and professionalism of our force is truly commendable. Our team has shown incredible adaptability and has worked tirelessly to maintain our pillars of organizational excellence, crime prevention and reduction, and community engagement and inclusion even in the face of adversity. My staff’s teamwork, innovative thinking, and determination have kept the Department moving forward, and for that, I am extremely grateful.”

“Throughout my tenure, I have persistently strived to ensure that we excel in areas where the needs of the Department and the community are not just met – but are exceeded,” said Outlaw.  “To meet specific goals, the Crime Prevention and Violence Reduction Action Plan was developed and shared with the public within the first three months after I was appointed, even as the pandemic was escalating into crisis mode.  I am extremely proud of the PPD team. We have made significant progress in all three of the Plan’s organizational pillars – Organizational Excellence, Crime Prevention and Violence Reduction, and Community Engagement and Inclusion. Under this plan, we have seen crime reductions, improved clearance rates, a reduction in complaints against police, new employee and wellness initiatives; to include the development of an employee intervention system, improved diversity in hiring and promotions, better internal and external communications, and so much more. I know progress will continue under this plan since it’s working.”