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Meet Danielle Outlaw, Philly’s new top cop; what happened to the Lit Bros. display | Morning Newsletter

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Danielle Outlaw speaks during a press conference introducing her as Commissioner of the Philadelphia Police Department at City Hall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on Monday, December 30, 2019. Outlaw was the chief of police in Portland, Ore.
Danielle Outlaw speaks during a press conference introducing her as Commissioner of the Philadelphia Police Department at City Hall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on Monday, December 30, 2019. Outlaw was the chief of police in Portland, Ore.Read moreMONICA HERNDON / Staff Photographer

    The Morning Newsletter

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New year, new police commissioner. After a four-month secretive search process, Mayor Jim Kenney has named Danielle Outlaw, chief of police in Portland, Ore., as Philadelphia’s new police commissioner. She’s the first black woman to lead the force, the second woman to take over the post, and Philly’s youngest top cop in two decades, and she says she’s ready to lead in a city and department with no shortage of challenges. And, speaking of challenges, you asked us what happened to the old Lit Bros. holiday display, and we found it.

Happy 2020, Philly, and thanks for reading. We’ll be back in your inbox next year — on Friday morning.

— Oona Goodin-Smith (@oonagoodinsmith,

Philadelphia has a new police commissioner, turning the page for its 6,500-member force, plagued by scandal.

Danielle Outlaw, who has been chief of police in Portland, Ore., is the first black woman to lead the city’s police force, and the second woman to take over as commissioner. At 43, she’s also Philly’s youngest top cop in over two decades. And, from looking at her nearly 20-year career with the Oakland Police Bureau and her recent term in Portland, she’s a study in contrasts.

On Monday, she told reporters she’s ready to handle the new role in a larger city with higher homicide and poverty rates, as she is familiar with 21st century policing and challenges she said translate across cities and police departments.

And as she steps in to lead a department with a culture marred by sexual harassment, discrimination, and racism, the historic nature of Outlaw’s appointment wasn’t lost on advocates for women and people of color.

Thirty miles from their former home at the old Lit Bros. department store at Seventh and Market Streets, the characters from the store’s “Enchanted Colonial Village” holiday animatronic display are still moving and shaking. Well, most of them.

After being shuffled from museum to museum after Lits closed in 1977, Philly’s own predecessors to the Chuck E. Cheese band have found new life in Oaks, Montgomery County.

What you need to know today

  1. More people were shot in Philadelphia this year than in any other year since 2010, according to police statistics, and the city’s homicide total of 351 through Saturday is about level with last year’s decade-long high.

  2. Philadelphia police are seeking a hit-and-run driver whose vehicle struck a man in West Philadelphia Sunday. The man was later struck by another vehicle and later pronounced dead.

  3. After years where talk exceeded action, 2019 was a big year for voting rights and election reform in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Advocates say they hope to continue the momentum.

  4. The 2020 Census will hit your mailbox soon. Here’s what it will ask — and what it won’t.

  5. New trail projects and $18 million in funds will provide an almost unbroken path from Exton to Center City.

Through your eyes | #OurPhilly

“Next stop: playoffs.” - @anthony.difilippo 🦅

Tag your Instagram posts or tweets with #OurPhilly and we’ll pick our favorite each day to feature in this newsletter and give you a shout out!

That’s interesting

  1. 💈It’s a cocktail lounge, it’s a barbershop, and it’s open for business. Follicly-blessed Phillies star Bryce Harper’s Blind Barber is now taking customers and serving drinks in Center City.

  2. 📲An Instagram-famous Philly tech entrepreneur explains her secrets to setting lofty goals for the new year.

  3. 🍽️Looking to ring in the new decade with a tasty meal? Here’s where to eat on New Year’s Eve in Philly on any budget.

  4. 💊Genetic testing is coming to an Acme near you. The makers of the grocery store cheek swab tests hope to help patients with mental illness find the right medicine for them.

  5. 🎂Carson Wentz’s birthday is this week, and the Eagles QB has plenty of reasons to celebrate, writes columnist Marcus Hayes.

  6. 📈The stock market has had a tremendous decade. But what’s the forecast for 2020 and beyond?


“Even if [disciplinary actions] are reversed in arbitration, it sends a strong message to every police officer — and the residents of Philadelphia — that the department does not tolerate misbehavior. The FOP might push back against you, Commissioner Outlaw, but right now, the people of Philadelphia — and this board — have your back.”The Inquirer Editorial Board on Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw and the potential for a new chapter in Philadelphia policing.

  1. For parents worried about toxins in Philadelphia’s schools, a CHOP pediatrician offers the asbestos ABCs.

  2. While 2019 was a breakout year in body positivity, we still have a lot of work to do in 2020 — none of which needs to be done in the gym, writes columnist Elizabeth Wellington.

What we’re reading

  1. Come January, for the first time in nearly a half-century, Jannie Blackwell will no longer occupy an office in City Hall. Billy Penn reflects on the seven-term reign of the outgoing West Philly councilwoman.

  2. Do you know who makes your clothes? The New York Times weaves the stories of 16 garment workers across the world.

  3. From the 😂emoji to the “This is fine” dog, the Washington Post ranks the most important gifs, videos, and internet reactions of the last 20 years.

Your Daily Dose of | 2019 📸

Each day in 2019, Inquirer photographers captured the big moments and everyday happenings in the Philadelphia region. Here are some of their favorites from the year, and in their words what made these photos special.