Tampa Police Chief resigns amid traffic stop scandal
Image via City of Tampa.

Mary O'Connor
Mayor Jane Castor said the Chief's 'accomplishments pale in comparison to the priority I place on integrity.'

Tampa Police Chief Mary O’Connor resigned Monday morning, Mayor Jane Castor announced, after O’Connor controversially appeared to use her position to get out of a traffic citation.

In a tweet Monday morning, Castor said she “requested and received” O’Connor’s resignation. “Assistant Chief Lee Bercaw will serve as acting chief while a comprehensive national search is conducted,” Castor said.

The resignation comes after the city launched an investigation into a traffic stop involving O’Connor and her husband in which she flashed her badge, identified herself as the Tampa Chief of Police and asked a Pinellas deputy to “just let us go,” which he did.

“The Tampa Police Department has a code of conduct that includes high standards for ethical and professional behavior that apply to every member of our police force,” Castor said in a statement. “As the Chief of Police, you are not only to abide by and enforce those standards but to also lead by example. That clearly did not happen in this case.”

Castor went on to say that the situation was “especially disappointing” because she “gave Mary O’Connor a second chance.”

“I believe in second chances for people. Which is one of the reasons that the disappointment today runs so deep,” Castor said. “I had high hope for Chief O’Connor, as she was off to such a strong start by reducing violent gun crime, proactively engaging with our community and focusing on officer wellness. But these accomplishments pale in comparison to the priority I place on integrity.”

Castor previously placed O’Connor on administrative leave pending the investigation.

Creative Loafing first reported on the incident Thursday, with body camera footage showing O’Connor and her husband pulled over while driving in a golf cart that did not have the proper tags. O’Connor can be seen asking Pinellas County Sheriff’s Deputy Larry Jacoby if his body camera was on, and then identifying herself as the Tampa Chief.

“I’m hoping you’ll just let us go tonight,” she said.

She ended the interaction by giving him a business card.

“You ever need anything, call me,” she said to the deputy. 

In a memo following reporting of the incident, which occurred on Nov. 12, O’Connor apologized for her behavior, noting that “in hindsight,” she realized how her “handling of this matter could be viewed as inappropriate.” She said that was not her intent and that she called the Pinellas County Sheriff “offering to pay for any potential citation.”

News of the thwarted traffic stop drew criticism Thursday evening and into Friday as people recalled a tumultuous start to O’Connor’s tenure as Chief. Critics questioned the hire after learning O’Connor was charged with battery on a Hillsborough Sheriff’s deputy during a DUI arrest in 1995.

O’Connor, whose last name then was Minter, was the passenger in the car with her now-husband Keith O’Connor. He was arrested on DUI charges and she was charged with battery on a law enforcement officer. Both were Tampa Police officers at the time.

Staff Reports


  • samantha albers

    December 5, 2022 at 2:48 pm

    Jane did a favor that bit her on the a$$ hard. Castor is a good person and loyal to a fault. This woman was not worth it, 2nd chances are a good thing and O’Connor was just a horrid pick. Castor did not like Dugan and forced him out, but Delgado would have been a much better pick. What an embarrassment for all.

    • just sayin

      December 6, 2022 at 7:55 am

      Yep. Not good to weigh personal preferences for such a high-profile, high-risk position.

  • Michael

    December 8, 2022 at 11:33 am

    This is a bit of hypersensitivity. It was nothing that needed her to quit over. So what if it is a slight bend of the rules for professional courtesy. Someone has to look at this in a reasonable situation and not read into it like it is some type of threat against every human on earth.

Comments are closed.


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