Tampa’s police chief has resigned after trying to escape a golf cart ticket

A Tampa police chief resigned in disgrace just weeks after her husband tried to use his influence to avoid a ticket when he was pulled over in an unregistered golf cart.

Mary O’Connor, 51, resigned Monday immediately after Internal Affairs determined she violated office policy when she flashed a Pinellas County deputy’s badge on Nov. 12 and asked him to “let us go.”.

“I never want a personal mistake to stand in the way of my progress in rebuilding the relationship between the police department and the community, so I am resigning,” his resignation letter said. according to Fox 13 News.

A shot of the former chief flashing his badge from a traffic stop camera footage
O’Connor tried to have a good time with a Pinellas County deputy who pulled her husband in a golf cart last month, dash cam footage shows.
Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office

The departure comes three days after O’Connor was placed on leave in connection with the incident, after dash cam footage was released showing him trying to pull a deputy in Oldsmar, Fla. big time.

The footage showed O’Connor driving an unregistered golf cart driven by her husband in a seaside community about 15 miles outside the city.

“Is your camera on? “I’m the Tampa police chief,” O’Connor said, flashing his badge.

“I hope you’ll let us go tonight,” the law enforcement veteran asked the deputy, according to the footage.

After police obliged, O’Connor handed him his card and said, “If you need anything, call me. Seriously. Thank you.”

Mary O'Connor addresses reporters during a news conference at Tampa Police Department headquarters, Feb. 8, 2022.
O’Connor tendered her resignation on Monday after less than a year.

The golf cart stop came ten months after O’Connor was named Tampa’s chief.

Before resigning, the ex-policeman said he regretted his actions and said it was the result of “poor judgment”.

“This is the first time we’ve been out of a golf cart-friendly community that owns a property, requiring a license plate.

“In hindsight, I understand how this issue could be viewed as inappropriate, but that was not my intention,” O’Connor said in a statement Friday.

“I knew my interview was on video and my goal was not to embarrass the MP,” he continued. “I have personally called the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office and offered to pay for any citations.”

Assistant Chief Lee Berkaw was named acting chief during the investigation.

O’Connor was tapped last winter to fill the top job vacated by Mayor Jane Castor, a former police chief, but her appointment was not without controversy.

She was fired from the department in 1995 after she and her future husband were accused of punching a deputy during a DUI stop, according to a local Fox affiliate.

Castro said in a statement Monday that he was particularly disappointed by O’Connor’s behavior because he had given him a “second chance.”

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