Tampa Police Chief Resigns After Trying To Avoid Golf Cart Ticket

Mary O'Connor left the position after she was stopped in the golf cart and flashed her badge to avoid a ticket

Mary O'Connor and her husband after being stopped in the golf cart
(Image credit: Tampa Police)

A Florida police chief has resigned after being stopped riding a golf cart down the street without a license plate tag and trying to avoid getting a ticket.

Mary O’Connor, the police chief of Tampa, was stopped on 12 November last month by a Pinellas County sheriff’s deputy while out in the cart with her husband close to her home. Following an internal affairs investigation, O’Connor resigned on Monday.

Body-cam footage shows O’Connor identifying as the Tampa police chief, flashing her badge, and saying to the deputy that she was “hoping that you’ll just let us go tonight.”  O’Connor then tells the deputy that she is out picking up food and doesn’t usually drive on public streets. The deputy is seen explaining that there have been “a lot of problems with golf carts around here". O'Connor is then seen handing the deputy a business card before being released without a citation.

A statement released by Tampa Mayor Jane Castor explained: “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."

Last week, O’Connor, who was sworn into office in March, issued an apology and said she understood how “this matter could be viewed as inappropriate, but that was certainly not my intent.”  In her resignation letter, O’Connor said she “would never want my personal mistake to stand in the way of the progress I have made in mending relationships between the police department and the community.”

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