TAMPA, Fla. — Mary O'Connor has been named the new Tampa police chief.

Mayor Jane Castor made the announcement Tuesday from police headquarters. O'Connor replaces Brian Dugan, who retired in September.

What You Need To Know

  • Mary O'Connor has been named the new Tampa police chief

  • O’Connor served the Tampa Police Department for 22 years before consultant work with DOJ and FBI

  • O'Connor takes over from Brian Dugan, who retired as chief in September 2021

The other candidates were interim Tampa Chief Ruben "Butch" Delgado and Miami Police Department Assistant Chief Cherise Giordani Gause.

Community leaders are weighing in on the selection.

"I heard about her involvement with the biking while black and so I'm curious what she has to say to the NAACP regarding that issue,” said Yvette Lewis, the Hillsborough NAACP Branch president. "We would have chosen Ruben Delgado. Chief Delgado was our pick originally and we were surely disappointed that he didn't get chosen."

O’Connor, 51, served the Tampa Police Department for 22 years, rising to the rank of assistant chief before retiring in 2016.

Since then, Mary has spent time extensively traveling the country, teaching and providing subject matter expertise and training to law enforcement and criminal justice executives.  She’s also served as a consultant to the U.S. Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

“While we had three very skilled candidates as finalists for the position of police chief, Mary stood out,” Mayor Castor said. “She brings to the table not just her innate knowledge of the Tampa Police Department, but her time spent with other police departments across the country. Mary understands where we may do things differently.

While at TPD, Mary O’Connor worked closely with a Tampa Police Chaplain in implementation and efficient running of a post-trauma training and retreat program to assist Tampa and other local police officers cope with symptoms of stress and strain associated with first responder careers.

She was also instrumental in opening an after-school program, The RICH House, Resources in Community Hope, which served hundreds of children and helped connect adults with social services.  

“I love this profession, and I love this department,” Incoming Chief O’Connor said. “It’s been a tough couple of years, not just for law enforcement officers, but society as a whole. However, I am an optimist and absolutely believe that better days are ahead. As a starting point, I believe we need to get back to basics and remember why we chose this noble profession. It’s to serve our community.”

Delgado has been serving as interim chief since September 2021.

“I extend my deepest gratitude to Ruben “Butch” Delgado,” Mayor Castor said. “I have no doubt he will be a police chief one day. He will continue to serve as a top, trusted leader at the Tampa Police Department.”

O’Connor will have to be confirmed by the Tampa City Council.