Feb 8, 2022 - News

Castor names Mary O'Connor as police chief

A headshot of new Tampa police chief Mary O'Connor
Chief Mary O'Connor. Photo courtesy of the city of Tampa

Tampa's new police chief is Mayor Jane Castor's olive branch to the community, a veteran peace officer picked to lead the department during a time of intense scrutiny and increased responsibilities for police.

Driving the news: Mary O'Connor, 51, who spent 22 years on the force and five years consulting at other departments across the country, will lead TPD, Mayor Jane Castor announced yesterday.

  • O'Connor is Tampa's second female chief after Castor, who led the department from 2009 to 2015, before becoming mayor.
  • She could start as early as next week. She replaces Chief Brian Dugan, who retired last year. Interim police Chief Ruben "Butch" Delgado, who had the backing of the police union, was also a finalist.

Why it matters: Tampa police have faced intense scrutiny in the past several years over a number of public embarrassments.

  • And morale among officers is low, the Dugan said in 2020.

O'Connor, a senior advisor with a law enforcement think tank, has worked as a trainer and consultant, where she said she learned the importance of identifying the root causes of crime and partnering with social services providers to take the burden off officers and provide people with the help they need.

Between the lines: Castor, an easy-going Democrat who marched with Black Lives Matter during a demonstration in 2020, said she picked a person who can help the department rebuild trust in the Black community and tackle new challenges.

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