City of Tampa announces top three candidates for police chief

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The city of Tampa has announced its top three candidates for the next police department chief. One currently serves in the acting position, the other has served in TPD for more than two decades, and the third brings the perspective of another big city in Florida.

On Wednesday evening, at Hillsborough Community College in Ybor City, they answered the people they hoped to serve – citizens – who had serious questions.

Miami Police Deputy Chief Cherise Giordani Gause is a 28-year veteran with the department, who currently leads the field operations division.

“As an external candidate, I bring a unique perspective,” Gause said.

Mary O’Connor served 22 years with the Tampa Police, retiring as Deputy Chief of Operations.

“I knew from an early age that this was my calling,” O’Connor said.

And TPD acting chief Ruben “Butch” Delgado, a native of Tampa, spent 23 years with the department, serving as deputy chief before taking office last October.

“We’re all trying to improve the quality of life in the neighborhoods, trying to give everyone in the city the same quality of life,” Delgado said Dec. 2.

Delgado was unable to attend Wednesday’s forum due to a family emergency.

The first public test of the candidates

The people these candidates hope to serve had a lot on their minds as they answered questions at Wednesday’s forum.

“Why should we trust you to help us?” one person asked.

“Making sure we enforce policing in a community-focused way, making sure you police with compassion and making sure we police constitutionally are the most important things,” Gause said.

“The police must be consistent in their law enforcement practices and they must be reliable. So when the community needs the police, they are there and they will solve the problem at hand,” O’ said. Connor. “One encounter at a time.”

Another asked: “What are your plans to ensure the protection of marginalized groups and prevent police brutality?

“We have to live up to the accountability standards,” O’Connor said. “Holding our police officers accountable for their actions will release and reduce the perception of brutality.”

“Everyone – marginalized immigrant community – everyone should be treated with the same level of dignity and respect,” Gause said. “There is no place for an individual who commits police brutality against one of our citizens.”

How the candidates were selected

Rodney Monroe, a retired chief who specializes in police reform, participated in the nationwide search for candidates. The city has narrowed the list.

“Each of them brings unique qualifications, experience and skills to the table,” said Tampa Mayor Jane Castor.

Contestants pictured from left to right: Mary O’Connor, Ruben “Butch” Delgado and Cherise Giordani Gause

Castor plans to make a decision next week. This candidate will go before the municipal council for approval.

Here are the biographies submitted to the city by the finalists:

Acting Chief Ruben “Butch” Delgado – Tampa Police Department

Acting Chief Ruben “Butch” Delgado has served the citizens of Tampa in many capacities during his 23-year career with the Tampa Police Department. He has held the position of Acting Chief of Police since October 1, 2021.

Prior to his role as Acting Chief, he was Deputy Chief of Police overseeing police investigations and support services functions. Acting Chief Delgado is a strong leader who has worked in a variety of settings, both on patrol and in administration. He served in all three Patrol Districts, the Support Services Division and the Criminal Investigations Division. During his assignment as Captain of Criminal Investigations, he was instrumental in the investigation of a serial murder case in Seminole Heights in 2017.

In late 2017, he was promoted to Major in District One, where he previously served as District Captain earlier in his career. Delgado has effectively partnered with community members and businesses to reduce crime and improve the department’s relationship with the community.

In 2019, he was promoted to Deputy Chief of Patrol Operations overseeing the department’s three patrol districts. In February 2020, he was promoted to Deputy Chief of Investigations and Support. Throughout 2020 and into 2021, Acting Chief Delgado played the lead role in public safety planning efforts for Super Bowl LV in February 2021.

A native of Tampa, Delgado is a graduate of Jefferson High School and holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Florida. Acting Chief Delgado also attended the Southern Police Institute, hosted by the University of Louisville, in 2016. In 2019, Acting Chief Delgado attended Tampa Bay Chamber’s Leadership Tampa program. Currently, Acting Chief Delgado attends the prestigious Police Executive Leadership Institute of the Major Cities Chiefs Association. Acting Chief Delgado is married with two children.

Deputy Chief Cherise Giordani Gause – Miami Police Department

Deputy Chief Cherise Giordani Gause is a twenty-eight-year law enforcement veteran with the Miami Police Department. She began her career with the Miami Police Department in 1993 as a civilian dispatcher and gradually rose through the ranks. She was promoted to Deputy Chief of Police in September 2019 and currently leads the Field Operations Division.

Deputy Chief Gause has held positions in all three divisions of the department: field operations, administration, and criminal investigations, respectively. She is passionate about public safety, community policing, constitutional policing and community engagement.

Deputy Chief Gause earned a Master of Science in Organizational Leadership from the Union Institute and University, a Bachelor of Public Administration from Barry University, and an Associate’s degree in Criminal Justice from Miami-Dade College. She is also a graduate of the prestigious FBI National Academy, the Senior Management Institute for Police, and the Southern Police Institute (SPI) Command Officer Development Course in Louisville, Kentucky.

Deputy Chief Gause has received numerous leadership and community service awards, including Legacy Magazine South Florida’s 2020 “50 Most Powerful Black Leaders in Business and Industry”, Women of the Year NYPD Haitian-American Law Enforcement Fraternal Organization 2019 and Legacy Magazine Miami’s “Most Influential and Prominent Black Women in Business and Industry” 2019.

She is a member of several professional organizations, including but not limited to the Miami-Dade County Association of Police Chiefs, where she serves on the Police Reform Committee, the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement (NOBLE), National Women’s Association. Enforcement Executives (NAWLEE), Police Executive Research Forum (PERF) and the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP). She also demonstrates her civic advocacy through memberships in Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and Jack & Jill of America Inc.

Mary O’Connor – Former Deputy Chief of Operations, Tampa Police Department

Mary O’Connor dedicated the first 22 years of her career to serving Tampa and its people. She worked her way through the Tampa Police Department and retired as Deputy Chief in 2016. She spent the next five years sharing lessons learned with agencies across the country through her work with the US Department of Justice and the FBI Law Enforcement Executive Development Association.

As a senior advisor to a leading law enforcement think tank, Mary helps police departments develop strategic plans to reduce crime with a focus on community engagement and grounded policing. on evidence. Mary is also a senior faculty member of the FBI’s Leadership Training Program which helps develop police officers into well-rounded leaders who understand the importance of diversity, collaboration, social equity, and building peace. confidence.

Her formative years have broadened the breadth of Mary’s knowledge and experience. She’s ready to bring innovative ideas back to Tampa where she found law enforcement was her calling.

Mary is very proud of the positive impact she has had on countless lives, from community members to police officers. She created an after-school program in an underprivileged neighborhood that has helped hundreds of children thrive. Mary has also been instrumental in developing breakthrough technology that has improved officer and community safety.

At TPD, Mary was known as an inclusive, results-oriented leader. She helped implement a progressive plan focused on smart policing and community partnerships that reduced crime and arrest rates by more than 70%. She is ready to build on this success and once again serve the city she loves.

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