Police Chief Danielle Outlaw
Police Chief Danielle Outlaw Portland Police Bureau

Since taking over earlier this month, Police Chief Danielle Outlaw hasn't been willing to talk about leadership changes she might enact at the Portland Police Bureau, but at least one fairly large change could go into effect as early as next week.

Outlaw, a former deputy chief at the Oakland Police Department, is now on the verge of creating a deputy chief position in Portland. The new position would serve as Outlaw's second-in-command, acting as a buffer between her and the PPB's three assistant chiefs, who've traditionally reported directly to the police chief.

"I think she found that configuration of leadership staff useful," says Anna Kanwit, the city's human resources director. "That will free her up some because she won't have as many direct reports as she otherwise would."

The PPB hasn't responded to requests for details about the position—including whether Outlaw has already tapped a deputy chief—but Portland City Council appears primed to approve the move. An ordinance creating the brand-new job classification appears on the "consent agenda" for next week's council meeting, which suggests it's got widespread council backing.

According to an impact statement filed with the ordinance, the position carries a maximum salary of $186,576, plus benefits and perks like a take-home car. The new salary will require a budget adjustment for the PPB, the statement says.

The deputy chief will assist Outlaw with "planning, directing, managing, and overseeing the activities and operations of the Portland Police Bureau (PPB) and all its branches," the filing says.

Kanwit says Outlaw has very few limitations when it comes to picking her second-in-command. The hire could come from within the PPB, as assistant chiefs typically do, or Outlaw could bring someone over from her time in Oakland.

Mayor Ted Wheeler's office, which requested the new position on Outlaw's behalf, referred questions to the PPB, which, again, hasn't gotten back to us.

Update, Monday: PPB spokesperson Sergeant Chris Burley tells the Mercury that Outlaw believes the new position "will provide her the opportunity to focus on the strategic goals of the organization." PPB would post the for both internal and external applicants if approved, Burley says.