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Hillsborough NAACP wants more transparency in search for Tampa's next police chief

Members with the Hillsborough NAACP said they want to have community input meetings with the mayor before a new police chief is chosen.

TAMPA, Fla. — The search is on for Tampa's next police chief, and the community is asking for more transparency as the mayor looks to fill the spot.

Former Tampa Police Chief Mary O'Connor resigned on Monday after body camera footage showed her violating the department's standard of conduct.

Tampa Mayor Jane Castor said there is a national search for the find of a new chief.

Two city council members were against appointing O'Connor to chief in March of this year, and one of them said there needs to be more transparency when filling the role.

"We were asking the administration to do a more thorough search and really listen to the concerns of the community had," Tampa City Council Member Bill Carlson said.

Regardless, Castor, who chose O'Connor, said she doesn't regret her decision.

"I don't regret my appointment of Mary O'Connor. I gave her a second chance because I believe that individuals believe second chances, but really that's why the disappointment runs so deeply," Castor said in a statement.

The president of the Hillsborough National Association for the Advancement of Colored People said she hopes Castor will involve the community and allow their input in meetings when choosing the next chief.

"We want to be a part of this process. This process was flawed before and look what happened," Yvette Lewis said.

When it comes to Tampa’s top cop position, Lewis explained the community is looking for someone they can trust.  

"We want to be respected by the Tampa Police Department and we also want our voice to be heard by Mayor Jane Castor," Lewis said.

Castor didn’t set a deadline for this search but explained it will take months. She did say that there will be community involvement. 

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