Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw has dismissed rumors she is about to resign as the city’s top cop to take a job leading the New York Police Department, but declined to say whether she had interviewed for the post.
During a virtual news conference about the city’s response to gun violence on Wednesday, Outlaw said the rumors of her impending departure were “out of control.” Department officials didn’t respond to additional questions Thursday.
Still, the commissioner’s response to questions about the possibility of leading the nation’s largest police department did little to suppress speculation about her future in Philadelphia. Here’s what we know and don’t know:
What we do know
New York City Mayor-elect Eric Adams told reporters last month that he planned to announce picks for some top positions in his incoming administration “right after Thanksgiving,” and Adams’ public-safety agenda was among the top tenets of his campaign.
He promised he would choose a woman to lead the force, and she would become the first female commissioner of the NYPD. The department is the largest in the nation and has about 35,000 uniformed officers, nearly six times the size of the Philadelphia Police Department.
Outlaw said reports she was expected to resign Wednesday were false. “I appreciate the honorable mention, and it’s quite flattering, quite frankly,” she said. “But I will tell you, I am still continuing to focus on my work here.”
Mayor Jim Kenney, approached by reporters Wednesday morning, said: “She hasn’t had a conversation with me about it. All I hear is rumors.”
If Outlaw departed, her tenure in Philadelphia would have been short-lived. She took over the department early last year after a stint running the police department in Portland, Ore.
What we don’t know
It’s unclear if Outlaw interviewed for the job. When asked Wednesday, she dodged the question, saying: “Any questions about the NYPD job need to be referred to them. It’s their process and out of respect for their process, I don’t have anything further to say on that.”
When asked if she would accept an offer to helm the NYPD, Outlaw again deflected, saying: “I’m not gonna comment on hypothetics. Honestly, if I had something to share with you, I promise I would.”
Adams’ transition team has not specified when it would announce its pick for police commissioner, and a spokesperson didn’t respond to a request for comment. The mayor-elect, who will be sworn in on Jan. 1, announced his choice for chancellor of New York City’s public schools on Thursday morning.
It’s not yet clear how far along Adams’ transition team is in the hiring process. In October, the New York Daily News reported he’d employed dozens of advisers to run a national search, and started by sending surveys to potential candidates.