Tampa police chief apologizes for flashing badge to get out of golf cart stop

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Tampa police chief apologizes for flashing badge to get out of golf cart stop

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The police chief of Tampa, Florida, is apologizing for using her badge as a method to get out of a golf cart traffic stop and asking for a disciplinary review of herself.

In a statement after the incident, police Chief Mary O’Connor said it was poor judgment on her part to be driving the golf cart on a public roadway without proper identification. She said she and her husband live in a golf-cart-friendly community and this was the first time she went out of the residential area.

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“In hindsight, I realize how my handling of this matter could be viewed as inappropriate, but that was certainly not my intent,” O’Connor said. “I knew my conversation was on video, and my motive was not to put the deputy in an uncomfortable position.”

She said she personally called the Pinellas County Sheriff offering to pay any citation. She added that she expressed her remorse to the mayor and wants to apologize to the residents “who have a reasonable expectation of better judgment from their chief of police.”

“As someone who has dealt with, taken ownership of, and grown from my past mistakes, I know that no one is above the law, including me,” O’Connor said.

O’Connor and her husband were driving a golf cart without a license plate outside of an Oldsmar residential area when they were stopped by the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office deputy.

The deputy’s body cam footage shows O’Connor flashing her badge and saying, “I’m the police chief of Tampa” at the deputy after asking him if his body camera is on.

After he asked how she was doing, O’Connor said, “I’m doing good. I’m hoping that you’ll just let us go tonight.”

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O’Connor has voluntarily reached out to the Tampa Police Professional Standards Bureau asking for her to receive similar discipline that would be given to any officer, per a statement from the Tampa police, and an internal review is ongoing.

“We hold everyone accountable, no matter their position, and this behavior was unacceptable,” Mayor Jane Castor said in a statement.

© 2022 Washington Examiner

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