As a first generation college student, Parker earned her bachelor’s degree in education at Lincoln University, and her masters in public administration at the University of Pennsylvania.
“My life is a textbook on how to turn pain into power,” she said.
Parker will inherit a city where gun violence has killed more than 360 people this year, and wounded an additional 1,161 as of Nov. 5.
She promised to hire 300 new police officers, aggressively target low-level crimes, and bring the National Guard to Kensington as part of a “comprehensive approach” to the opioid crisis.
“We have to have a sense of order in our city,” she said. “While we do that let’s understand this, zero tolerance for any misuse of authority by our law enforcement authorities.”
Parker said she will use all legal options available to control crime, including low-level offenses. She embraces stop and frisk, which she calls “Terry stops,” a reference to the 1968 U.S. Supreme court case that allows police officers to stop and pat down a person if the officer has a “reasonable suspicion” they are about to commit a crime. The practice is controversial because evidence shows it’s been used to racially profile Black men.
One of Parker’s most immediate jobs will be to hire a new police commissioner to replace Danielle Outlaw, who left in December. John Stanford Jr. has been serving in an interim capacity.
On the siting of the Sixers’ proposal for an arena near Chinatown, Parker says she has not made up her mind but would engage with the community and look at data to make a decision.
She has also proposed “year-round” schooling and increasing the proportion of property tax that goes to the district by 3% as a way to leverage more funding from Harrisburg.