Tampa has announced three finalists to become its next police chief.
Current interim Police Chief Ruben "Butch" Delgado, Miami Police Department Assistant Chief Cherise Giordani Gause and former Tampa police Assistant Chief Mary O'Connor are the finalists, the city said in a news release Wednesday morning.
There were varying degrees of opinion about whether the new chief should come from outside the department. Delgado is from within, O'Connor served 22 years with department before retiring in 2016, and Gause is from outside the department.
Delgado has been interim police chief since former chief Brian Dugan retired in the fall. He has been with the department for 23 years and has worked his way up the ranks over that time.
Before becoming interim chief, Delgado was the assistant chief overseeing police investigations and support services. Prior to that, he served in all three patrol districts and in criminal investigations. While he was captain of that division, he played a large role in the investigation into a serial murder case in Seminole Heights in which four people were killed and a suspect was eventually arrested.
Delgado also served in the lead role for planning public safety efforts for Super Bowl LV in Tampa last year.
He is a Tampa native who graduated from Jefferson High School and holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree from the University of Florida. He is married with two children.
Gause has been with the Miami Police Department for 28 years and currently leads the Field Operations Division.
She began her career as a dispatcher in 1993 and has worked her way up the ranks over the years. She was promoted to assistant chief in 2019. She has worked in all three divisions of the Miami Police Department: field operations, administration and criminal investigations.
She has a Master of Science degree in Organizational Leadership from Union Institute and University, a Bachelor of Public Administration degree from Barry University and an Associate's Degree in Criminal Justice from Miami-Dade College.
O'Connor worked for the Tampa Police Department for 22 years before retiring as an assistant chief in 2016. She has worked with the U.S. Department of Justice and the FBI Law Enforcement Executive Development Association since then.
"As a senior advisor with a leading law enforcement think tank, Mary helps police departments develop strategic plans for reducing crime by focusing on community engagement, and evidence-based policing," the city said in its news release.
She is also "a senior faculty member of the FBI's premier leadership training program that helps develop police officers into well-rounded leaders who understand the importance of diversity, collaboration, social equity, and trust-building," the release states.
The city will host a community forum from 6-7 p.m. Wednesday to introduce the finalists, which will be held at the Hillsborough Community College Ybor Campus.
The forum is not open to the public because of limited space and is invite only, the city said in the news release.
Those invited include members of Tampa City Council, the Mayor's Community Task Force on Policing, the Citizens Review Board, Neighborhood Watch, Neighborhood Associations, Tampa Parks & Recreation Teens Leading Change and the Mayor's Youth Corps.
"Audience members will have an opportunity to meet the candidates and participate in the selection process," the news release states. "Likewise, the candidates will have the chance to speak with the community about their policing strategies and philosophies."
This is a breaking news story that will be updated with more information about the finalists.