Danielle Outlaw

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Danielle Outlaw
ResidencePortland, Oregon
TitleChief of the Portland Police Bureau
PredecessorMike Marshman

Danielle Outlaw (born 1975)[1][3] currently serves as chief of police for the Portland Police Bureau, in the U.S. state of Oregon. She is the first African American woman to head the bureau,[1] and was appointed by mayor Ted Wheeler in 2017.[4] Outlaw previously worked for the Oakland Police Department, where she served as deputy chief from 2013 until 2017.[2][3]

Early life and education[edit]

Danielle Outlaw was born in 1975. Her father and mother worked with the California Department of Transportation and AT&T. She attended the Holy Names High School in Oakland, California.[3] She did not have a good perception of the Oakland police during her childhood. In high school, as part of a career exploration program, Outlaw visited the Oakland Police Department, she had the opportunity to patrol with officers. This caused her to change her perception of the police, and find out that those in the police force were just like her.[3]

Before she graduated from the University of San Francisco with a Bachelor of Arts in sociology, followed by a Master of Business Administration from Pepperdine University. Outlaw entered the Pepperdine Grazio Business School to differentiate herself from people in her field. In addition, Chief Outlaw was the recipient of the Oakland Black Officers' Association Trailblazer Award, the Holy Names High School Alumnae Association Citation for Service and the 2015 Police Executive Research Forum, which also known as PERF, Gary P. Hayes Award.[5]


Outlaw began her Law Enforcement career with the Oakland Police Department in California. Since she worked in there, she rose her ranks through to Deputy Chief, she worked in various assignments throughout the Oakland Police Department, including Patrol, Community Services, the Office of Chief of Police, the Criminal Investigation Division, Internal Affairs and the Office of Inspector General.[3][6] During her time in Oakland Danielle Outlaw thought the police should change in communication.[4] So Outlaw suggested that women's soft skills could help communicate well with other communities and avoid potentially dangerous situations.[6]

In 2017, when Mayor Ted Wheeler announced Danielle Outlaw would be replacing interim chief Mike Marshman, Outlaw said that she has been try to changing the perception of policing nationwide, beyond the badge.[3][7]

Outlaw began serving as chief of police for the Portland Police Bureau in 2017.[8][9][5]

Move from Oakland to Portland[edit]

One of the biggest changes for Outlaw that has come with her new position is the move from Oakland to Portland. Outlaw is one of five Portland chiefs hired from outside of the PPB in the last twenty years.[10][7]

Before moving to Portland Outlaw had a long history in the city of Oakland. Not only was she born and raised in Oakland but she also joined the Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority two years before her move to Portland. The sisterhood, which was built to join African-American women together, helped her build a community in Oakland. One significant ally that Outlaw has found is Portland Trailblazer and fellow Oakland-native Damian Lillard. Lillard was quick to extend a welcome to the new chief by inviting her to parties and showing support for Outlaw via social media posts.[3]

Challenges of equity in Portland force[edit]

When Outlaw was hired as chief of police for the Portland Police Bureau, she became the first African American woman to hold this position.[7][10] Before her, there had been two other female chiefs in Portland: Penny Harrington and Rosie Sizer.

When Outlaw joined the Portland force in 2017, the city's Office of Equity released data stating that a quarter of PPB officers were women, and a quarter of officers identified as people of color. In the short time that she has been in Portland, she has stated that she hopes to change this statistic and make a difference within the bureau.[7][3] Outlaw says that she has a "...hope to support both demographic diversity and 'diversity of thought' in the bureau."[7]

She has also been part of communities such as the San Francisco Bay Area National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE) and International Association of Chiefs of Police Human and Civil Rights Committee (ICAP). Both of these organizations aim to implement diversity in the police force. These groups heavily influenced Outlaw's principles of policing and lead her direction for the Portland Police Bureau.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Bernstein, Maxine (October 3, 2017). "New Police Chief Danielle Outlaw: Portland offers 'ability to be bold'". The Oregonian. Retrieved October 11, 2017.
  2. ^ a b Bernstein, Maxine (August 8, 2017). "Portland mayor selects first African American woman to be next chief of police". The Oregonian. Retrieved October 11, 2017.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i Templeton, Amelia (October 4, 2017). "Portland's New Police Chief, Danielle Outlaw, Is Tough, Ambitious — And Inked". Oregon Public Broadcasting. Retrieved October 11, 2017.
  4. ^ a b Shepherd, Katie (August 7, 2017). "Danielle Outlaw Will Become the First Black Woman to Be Portland Police Chief". Willamette Week. Retrieved October 11, 2017.
  5. ^ a b Portland Police Bureau (October 2, 2017). "Danielle Outlaw Sworn in as Chief of Police". The Skanner. Retrieved October 11, 2017.
  6. ^ a b "Portland Police Chief Danielle Outlaw | Think Out Loud". WNYC. January 30, 2018. Retrieved February 22, 2019.
  7. ^ a b c d e Darakjian, Gareen (July 13, 2018). "Beyond the Badge". Pepperdine University. Retrieved February 22, 2019.
  8. ^ Dubois, Steven (August 10, 2017). "Outlaw introduced as next Portland police chief". KGW. Associated Press. Retrieved October 11, 2017.
  9. ^ "Portland Police Bureau swears in new police chief, Danielle Outlaw". KATU. October 2, 2017. Retrieved October 11, 2017.
  10. ^ a b "Chief Danielle Outlaw - Biography". The City of Portland, Oregon. Retrieved February 22, 2019.

Further reading[edit]

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