- Associated Press - Tuesday, May 26, 2015

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) - Tampa has a new police chief, and he’s starting amid a federal probe into how the agency handles the city’s bike ticketing program and minorities.

The City Council recently confirmed Eric Ward as the department’s new chief. The 48-year-old Ward is a 26-year veteran of the police and the city’s second black police chief. He succeeds Jane Castor, who retired this month.

The vote came after black community, church and civil liberties advocates said they supported Ward’s selection. But they also wanted a hard look at how police bicycle ticketing and arrest policies affect minorities.

The Tampa Bay Times reported last month that Tampa officers write more tickets for bicycle infractions such as not having a light than other cities. About 80 percent of those tickets go to black cyclists.

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