Tampa Police Chief Mary O’Connor on administrative leave after bodycam footage surfaced

A Florida police chief has been placed on administrative leave after showing her badge during a traffic delay.

Tampa Police Chief Mary O’Connor and her husband were driving an unlicensed golf cart in Oldsmar, Fla., nearly 20 miles outside of Tampa, when Pinellas County stopped the couple.

After confirming that the officer’s body-worn camera is recording, O’Connor pulls out her badge.

“I’m the Tampa Police Chief,” O’Connor said with a grin. “I hope you’ll just let us go tonight.”

“You look familiar,” the deputy replied before letting the couple drive away.

“If you ever need anything, give me a call,” O’Connor said as she handed the officer a card. “Seriously. Thank you.”

In a statement released Friday, Tampa Mayor Jane Castor announced that O’Connor has been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of an investigation into the traffic incident.

O’Connor has also expressed remorse for her actions, calling the incident a result of “poor judgment” and that she came forward personally and offered to pay any subpoenas that might arise.

Mary O'Connor, husband

O’Connor’s husband (right) explained to the officer that they were driving the cart on a public road to get food.


O'Connor has since expressed regret for her decision to use her badge in a traffic stop.

O’Connor has since expressed regret for her decision to use her badge in a traffic stop.


“It was poor judgment on our part to drive a golf cart on a public highway without the proper tags,” O’Connor said.

“This was the first time we had left the golf cart-friendly community where we own property with this vehicle, resulting in the need for a license plate. In hindsight, I realize that my handling of this matter could be viewed as inappropriate, but that was certainly not my intention.”

O’Connor was named Tampa Police Chief in February and has been in law enforcement for 22 years.

Mary O'Connor
O’Connor has been placed on leave while the incident is investigated.
Tampa Police Department

“I knew my conversation was on video, and my motive wasn’t to put the deputy in an awkward position,” O’Connor said. “I personally called the Pinellas County Sheriff and offered to pay for a possible subpoena.”

“I have expressed great remorse to the mayor and apologize to Tampa residents who reasonably expect better judgment from their police chief. As someone who has faced, accepted, and grown from my past mistakes, I know that no one is above the law, including myself.”

Deputy Chief Lee Bercaw has stepped in as Acting Chief in Tampa during the investigation.

https://nypost.com/2022/12/04/tampa-police-chief-mary-oconnor-on-administrative-leave-after-bodycam-footage-surfaces/ Tampa Police Chief Mary O’Connor on administrative leave after bodycam footage surfaced

JACLYN DIAZ

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