TAMPA (WFLA) – Tampa City Council members expressed concerns Thursday about Mayor Jane Castor’s pick to be the next Chief of Police.
Mayor Castor chose Mary O’Connor over Interim Chief Ruben “Butch” Delgado and Miami Police Assistant Chief Cherise Gause.
O’Connor has yet to be confirmed by the city council.
During a council meeting Thursday, members brought up concerns with the Mayor’s Chief of Staff.
Several members said the mayor’s selection process could have been more transparent.
“How it was handled is something else. Constituents are calling, they’re saying there was no transparency in this selection,” Council Member Joseph Citro said.
Council members said more residents and constituents have contacted them with concerns than any other issue. The main concern has been about O’Connor’s past criminal record.
O’Connor worked her way up through the ranks to the assistant chief at TPD before retiring in 2016.
Early in her career, she was charged with battery on a law enforcement officer after a traffic stop.
“You can read the emails, that if anyone else was arrested for battery on a law enforcement, they may get a second chance but could they be a police chief?” Chair Gudes said.
At the forum in January, O’Connor told News Channel 8 that mistake should not be held against her.
“I am a strong proponent of people making mistakes, learning from them, and having a second chance to prove themselves,” O’Connor said.
8 On Your Side reached out to Mayor Castor for comment. Her spokesperson said:
“Mayor Castor found three very strong candidates for chief of police. After extensive background investigation, conversations with each of them, and presenting each to the community, she concluded Mary O’Connor was the best suited to lead the Tampa Police Department successfully into the future. Mayor Castor’s choice was based not on politics, but from the deep knowledge of the department and progressive law enforcement she has gained over 31 years at the Tampa Police Department. Mayor O’Connor will be a great chief,” said Adam Smith, Communications Director, Marketing & Communications with the City of Tampa.
The city council has 90 days to confirm her or else the mayor would have to select someone else.