Police chief forced to quit after using position to escape golf buggy traffic ticket

US

Tampa’s police chief has been forced to quit after using her position to escape a ticket during a traffic stop involving a golf cart driven by her husband.

Mary O’Connor resigned after an internal affairs review found she violated police department policy during the incident in Florida on 12 November.

Caught on police body camera, O’Connor identified herself as the Tampa chief, flashed her badge and said: “I’m hoping you will let us go tonight.”

They were stopped because the golf cart did not have a number plate – which they must have if driven on public streets.

O’Connor’s husband, Keith, said they had just come from a restaurant and did not usually drive the cart on streets.

The internal review found O’Connor violated regulations on standards of conduct and “abuse of position or identification”.

Mary O'Connor has resigned after using her position to escape a ticket during a traffic stop involving her golf cart driven by her husband (Pic: AP)
Image:
Mary O’Connor has subsequently resigned. Pic: AP

“The Tampa Police Department has a code of conduct that includes high standards for ethical and professional behaviour that apply to every member of our police force,” Mayor Jane Castor said in a statement.

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“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.”

Last week O’Connor, who served in the post for nearly a year, issued a statement apologising for her conduct.

“In hindsight, I realise how my handling of this matter could be viewed as inappropriate, but that was certainly not my intent,” she said.

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