Police officers lined up Wednesday morning in the ballroom at Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 5 to meet new Commissioner Danielle Outlaw.
Outlaw, who took over Feb. 10, said she was amazed by the turnout and welcoming spirit at the police union’s Far Northeast headquarters. Officers introduced themselves to Outlaw and posed for photos.
“It’s really important for me to get to meet the rank-and-file,” she said. “We make a lot of policy decisions. We make a lot of unilateral decisions, and it’s really easy to forget how the decisions that we make are impacting the people that are actually doing it.”
“I think it’s important for them to feel comfortable enough to share whatever it is that they want to share with me because we’re all working through some very exciting times of opportunity but there’s times of change and reform as well,” Outlaw added.
Outlaw is new to the city, having previously served as police chief in Portland, Oregon. She has been making the rounds lately, even receiving a warm embrace and recognition last week from Archbishop Nelson Perez during his installation Mass.
She replaced interim Commissioner Christine Coulter, who stepped in after the department’s former leader, Richard Ross, resigned in August following sexual harassment allegations.
FOP Lodge 5 President John McNesby said Outlaw’s predecessors did not hold similar meet-and-greet sessions, though some were already well-known in the department when they became commissioner.
“This goes a long way for morale,” McNesby said. “If you don’t think it does, believe me, it really does.” ••
Jack Tomczuk can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.