Mayor Bob Buckhorn Appoints Eric Ward as Chief of Police - New chief promotes two of Tampa Police’s finest

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Mayor Bob Buckhorn announced today that he has appointed Eric Ward as Tampa’s new Chief of Police. Ward replaces outgoing Police Chief Jane Castor, whose last day serving the citizens of Tampa is Friday, May 8, 2015.

“The position of police chief is one of the most important appointments a mayor can make, and for our city, Eric Ward is the right person to lead the Tampa Police Department. Eric grew up in this community, and he has a unique understanding of the challenges and opportunities that exist as we continue to make Tampa a better place to live, work, and raise a family,” said Mayor Bob Buckhorn. “Within the department, Eric is known as a quiet force, and his methodical demeanor and certitude will serve him, the department, and our city.”

Chief Ward currently serves as the Assistant Chief of Operations. He grew up in the East Tampa community, playing little league in Belmont Heights and graduating from Hillsborough High School. He joined the Tampa Police Department 27-years ago in 1988, and in that time, his career has included assignments in Patrol, the Criminal Intelligence Bureau, K-9, Gang Suppression Unit, Firehouse Program, Street Anti-Crime Squad and Selective Enforcement Bureau. Before becoming part of the department's command staff, Ward was a member of TPD's Tactical Response Team, Honor Guard and Hostage Negotiation Team. Ward holds a Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice from St. Leo University. He is married with two children and lives in West Tampa.

To learn more about Chief Ward and his background, please visit

Chief Ward will report directly to Mayor Buckhorn. His salary will be $156,000, and his appointment will go before Tampa City Council for confirmation.

Chief Eric Ward also announced promotions of the two assistant chief positions.

Assistant Chief of Operations Mary O’Connor

Mary O’Connor played an integral part in developing and implementing new technology to prevent crime and solve cases faster. Prior to her promotion to deputy chief, she served as the Major over the Criminal Investigations Division, which encompasses Major Crimes, Narcotics, Forensics and Communications. This 21-year-veteran has served the citizens of Tampa in the Criminal Intelligence Bureau, Patrol, Detective Commander, Field Training Officer, Narcotics Officer and Economic Crimes Detective including leading tax fraud investigations. Mary O’Connor holds a Bachelor of Arts in Criminology from the University of South Florida and a Master of Business Administration from Saint Leo University.

Assistant Chief of Special Support & Investigations Brian Dugan

Brian Dugan oversees the department’s highest profile investigations as the head of the Criminal Investigations and Special Support Division. This includes homicide, sex crimes and family violence, narcotics, 911 center, and the department’s $143 million dollar budget. As a Captain, Dugan played a critical role in the success of the Republican National Convention as the Field Force Commander. During his 25-year career, Dugan has worked in the Street-Anti-Crime Unit, Patrol Officer, Quick Uniform Attack on Drugs Squad (QUAD), Internal Affairs Bureau, Mayor’s Security Detail and as a Field Training Officer. Brian Dugan earned a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice from West Liberty University and a Master of Public Administration degree from Troy State University.

To download hi-res images of Chief Ward and Assistant Chiefs O’Connor and Dugan, please visit and look in the folder marked “headshots.”

For additional information, please contact: 

Ali Glisson, Public Affairs Director 
(813) 274-8262