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Statement from Tampa Police about recent incident in Pinellas County involving Chief O’Connor

The Tampa Police Department would like to address a recent off-duty incident involving Chief of Police Mary O’Connor.

On the evening of November 12, 2022, Chief O’Connor and her spouse were stopped by a Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office deputy while riding in a golf cart without a license plate outside of a residential area in Oldsmar. She flashed her badge, identified herself as the police chief in Tampa and stated, “I’m hoping you will just let us go tonight.”

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The incident was recorded on the Pinellas SO deputy’s body worn camera, which can be viewed through the following link:

Please see the below statements from Chief O’Connor and Mayor Jane Castor  
addressing this matter. 

Statement from Chief Mary O’Connor: 

“It was poor judgment on our part to be driving a golf cart on a public  
roadway without the appropriate tags. This was the first time we had exited  
the golf-cart friendly community in which we own property with this vehicle,  
prompting the need for a license plate. 

In hindsight, I realize how my handling of this matter could be viewed as  
inappropriate, but that was certainly not my intent. I knew my conversation  
was on video, and my motive was not to put the deputy in an uncomfortable  
position. I have personally called the Pinellas County Sheriff offering to pay  
for any potential citation. 

I have expressed great remorse to the Mayor, and I apologize to the residents  
of Tampa who have a reasonable expectation of better judgment from their chief  
of police. 

As someone who has dealt with, taken ownership of and grown from my past  
mistakes, I know that no one is above the law, including me.” 

Statement from Mayor Jane Castor: 

“We hold everyone accountable, no matter their position, and this behavior was  
unacceptable. Chief O’Connor will go through the due process and face  
appropriate discipline.” 

Chief O’Connor has voluntarily reached out to the Tampa Police Professional
Standards Bureau asking to receive the same discipline that any officer would
receive for similar conduct. An internal review of the incident is underway.

On Friday, December 2, 2022, Police Chief Mary O’Connor was placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of an investigation into a recent traffic stop. Assistant Chief Lee Bercaw is serving as acting chief.


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