Tampa selects new Police Chief

On+Wednesday%2C+Tampa+Bay+announced+a+new+chief+police.+They+were+in+between+three+candidates

Eve Murdick

On Wednesday, Tampa Bay announced a new chief police. They were in between three candidates

Eve Murdick, News Editor

 In a news release on Wednesday, Tampa announced their finalists for its next police chief. 

The three candidates were police Chief Ruben Delgado, Assistant Chief Cherise Giordani Gause from Miami and former Tampa police Assistant Chief Mary O’Connor. 

The finalists were introduced at the community forum at the Hillsborough Community College Ybor Campus on Wednesday. Due to limited space, the forum was by invite only. 

“Those invited to the forum included members of Tampa City Council, the Mayor’s Community Task Force on Policing, the Citizens Review Board, Neighborhood Watch, Neighborhood Associations, Tampa Parks & Recreation Teens Leading Change and the Mayor’s Youth Corps,” Tampa Bay Times states 

A local Tampa native who went to University of Florida, Delgado has been in the department for 23 years and interim police chief since Chief Dugan retired. Prior, Delgado assisted in overseeing investigation and support services, served in three patrol districts, and played a large role in the investigation into a serial murder case in Seminole Heights. 

The other candidate Gause has been with the Miami Police Department for almost 30 years. She was also one of the finalists for being chief of the Miami Police Department. Her career was initially being a dispatcher, eventually leading her to be assistant chief in 2019. In addition, she worked in all of the divisions in the Miami police department (field operations, administration and criminal investigations). 

Before retiring as an assistant chief six years ago, O’Conner worked for the Tampa Police Department for 22 years. She was also given the title of top candidate in the look for a police chief to replace Jane Castor. After retirement from the department, O’Conner has also worked with the United States Department of Justice as well as the FBI Law Enforcement Executive Development Association. 

At the forum, Gause and O’Connor answered questions pertaining to topics of police brutality and police and civilian trust. The candidates promised to hold officers accountable and protect citizen’s rights, although not supported by evidence or explained in depth. 

If selected as the next police chief of Tampa, Gause explained that her top priorities are reductions in crime, wellness and training for officers, improving community relationships and increasing technology.

“Policing as we have known it in the past has changed,” she said. “The future of policing, though, I think, is still optimistic.” 

 O’Conner similarly stated that, during her time as chief, she is committed to justice for victims and prioritizing community connections. 

In all, O’Conner was chosen by Mayor Castor to be Tampa’s new police chief of Feb. 8. 

“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.”