Tampa Police Chief Mary O’Connor resigns after flashing her badge to escape ticket during golf cart traffic stop

The police chief in Tampa, Florida, resigned Monday after utilizing her position to escape a ticket during a traffic stop involving a golf cart pushed by her husband.

Mary O’Connor submitted her resignation after an inner affairs overview discovered she violated police division coverage during the Nov. 12 stop by a Pinellas County sheriff’s deputy.

During that stop — which was recorded on video by the deputy’s physique digital camera — O’Connor recognized herself because the Tampa chief, flashed her badge and mentioned, “I’m hoping you will let us go tonight.”

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The deputy issued solely a verbal warning as an alternative of a quotation. The golf cart didn’t have a license tag, a requirement for when such autos are pushed on public streets. O’Connor’s husband, Keith, mentioned they’d simply come from a restaurant and did not often drive the cart on streets.

The internal review discovered O’Connor, who had been on the job lower than a year, violated rules on requirements of conduct and “abuse of position or identification.”

“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,” Mayor Jane Castor — herself a former Tampa police chief — mentioned in an announcement requesting the resignation. “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 appointed Lee Bercaw, who was assistant chief, as performing chief whereas a nationwide search begins.

“In Lee Bercaw, we have a thoughtful and highly regarded leader in progressive policing. I am grateful he can hit the ground running and continue working with our community to keep our city safe,” Castor mentioned within the assertion.

Last week, O’Connor issued an announcement apologizing for her conduct.

“In hindsight, I realize how my handling of this matter could be viewed as inappropriate, but that was certainly not my intent,” she mentioned.

In her resignation letter, O’Connor touted her accomplishments as police chief however took duty for her actions.

“I would never want my personal mistake to stand in the way of the progress I have made in mending relationships between the police department and the community,” she wrote, “so for that reason, I am resigning.”

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