Danielle Outlaw took the helm at the Portland Police Bureau on Oct. 2, becoming the first black woman police chief in this city's history. Outlaw comes from the Oakland Police Department, where she gained a reputation as a reformer.
On her second day on the job, she sat down with WW to discuss her goals. Outlaw identified four policies she wants to tackle right away: staffing, police interactions with homeless Portlanders, strategies at protests, and implementing the city's settlement agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice.
What is your position on working with federal immigration agents?
This organization does not enforce civil federal immigration laws. This is a sanctuary city. And it is my role to make sure that all of our policies, actions and directives are in alignment with just that. We're still a law enforcement agency. We can still do our jobs without federal immigration laws.
Do you worry the DOJ might pull its support for the settlement agreement under the Trump administration?
Regardless of if there is DOJ oversight or not, I think it is incumbent on us as leaders within the city and the organization to continue to be introspective. That's how we raise the bar. And that's how we contribute in a positive way to the national dialogue about how we police in this country. Regardless of whether the DOJ was here or not, we would still be at the forefront in trying to do the absolute best in how we police.
Will police use of force at protests change under your leadership?
I don't know. It's day two, so I am no position whatsoever to say what I'm going to come in and change right away. But that's on the absolute top of my list.
Are there any elements of Oakland's highly regarded crowd-control policies you would bring to Portland?
There might be. But it's not a cookie cutter. Everything doesn't work for everybody.
What is the most interesting thing you've heard from a Portlander so far?
I won't share that here. But to me it speaks to the fact that folks are just bold. They'll say whatever is on their mind regardless of how tactful it is. But it's OK because that's one of the things that drew me here. There's a tenacity and a boldness about Portland. And that suits my personality well.