Mayor Jane Castor Accepts Resignation of TPD Chief Mary O’Connor
Tampa Mayor Jane Castor has requested and received the resignation of Police Chief Mary O'Connor, following the completion of an Internal Affairs investigation into a recent traffic stop involving O'Connor. Assistant Chief Lee Bercaw, a widely respected, 25-year veteran of the department, will serve as acting chief while a comprehensive national search is conducted.
Internal Affairs Investigation Document
Mary O'Connor Letter of Resignation
"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. 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.”
“It is unacceptable for any public employee, and especially the city's top law enforcement leader, to ask for special treatment because of their position. Public trust in Tampa's police department is paramount to our success as a city and community,” Mayor Castor said.
"This is especially disappointing because I gave Mary O’Connor a second chance, as I believe in second chances for people. Which is one of the reasons that the disappointment today runs so deep. 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.”
"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.”
Bercaw has worked in every Tampa neighborhood and has been a key force in developing proactive crime reduction strategies that have made Tampa among the safest cities of its size in America. He is well-versed in managing large-scale events such as the Super Bowl, Gasparilla, and the Republican National Convention. He holds a doctorate in Criminal Justice from St. Leo University, as well as a Master of Arts in Criminal Justice Administration and a Bachelor of Science in Criminology from the University of South Florida.
Mayor Castor has no firm deadline for selecting the next chief but fully expects that a national search and hiring process will take several months.