Marshall, Texas is not unlike most medium-sized communities across the United States. There are the typical sections of neighborhoods for different races, for the races to mix, for different economic classes, yadda, yadda. There is the city-run government, and since, Marshall is the county seat for Harrison County – the county governing offices are housed there.
Allegedly, there is an ‘old boy network’ that means the town is run by old money. There are questionable characters in leadership as elected officials and in various departments of governing bodies. There is always some sort of issue involving race, economy and crime. Let’s not forget the fusses over the lack of quality of service provided by governing agencies, and what about the buildings that are falling apart. Budgetary concerns top the list of a lot of coffee club discussions. There are complaints that Marshall is not growing.
Marshall can’t be blamed for what woes its citizens. Maybe it is the attitudes and actions of we the citizens and leaders that need changing?
The above paragraphs were a part of an epistle that I wrote for the on line publication, ‘The Piney Woods News.’ Though, as a journalist, I don’t like the idea of reprints – every story should be an original – the above seemed to be the perfect lede – that is newspaper speak for introduction – into an ‘editorial’ about an issue that is brewing in the city. There has been a call for a change in leadership in the city council – which this is election season, but also a call by personnel for a change in leadership in the Marshall Police Department.
Six to eight weeks ago, I was made aware that officers – not just a few certain ones– but a majority of the officers with the Marshall Police Department – had made a complaint to the Texas Municipal Police Association about the police chief, Jesus ‘Eddie’ Campa.
For those who don’t know about the TMPA – it is a ‘watchdog’ type of organization for Texas law enforcement officers. The group provides legal assistance, affordable training and protects the interests of LEOS. According to its website, TMPA represents more than 24,000 law enforcement officers – this includes those who are a part of city, county and state law enforcement agencies.
As per statements from officials with the TMPA, the Marshall Police Officers’ Association, city officials and even, Chief Campa himself, the complaints stem from varying issues. These concerns branched out from a majority of those MPD employees – sworn and not-sworn (including civilian), regarding questionable tactics by Campa and a few members of his administrative staff.
The dissension in the Marshall Police Department is not new. In fact, the ‘rumblings’ began as early as 2015, with credible questions raised concerning certain witnessed activities of the Chief and high-ranking officers. Though it appears to those looking from the outside that things were fine, the story ‘behind the closed door’ seems to be different.
Had it been from just one or two people making a complaint, especially if those complaining had a personal grudge against the Chief, it would be something to just pshaw off – as it appears the community newspaper, the Marshall News Messenger has done in its reporting of the news and its editorial published on Sunday which takes Campa’s side.
But then, there is the early report from Marshall’s radio station, KMHT 103.9. As a purveyor of news, I commend KMHT. They did a thorough investigation, as any credible, non-bias news outlet should, into the story, giving all sides an opportunity to answer hard questions, and present the facts.
So, with two media outlets presenting two very different stories, confusion is sure to have set in.
Based on facts from Campa’s career in El Paso, including claims of his causing personnel issues and mismanagement of fund, one wonders, is history repeating itself? Just search through the Internet for information if you need too.
Or, is it as the MNM claims, that Campa is just the victim of Marshall’s ‘old-boy network’ and of a few certain officers who have political reasonings to get him gone?
The purpose of this editorial is simply to raise a question or two.
Take a look into the social media activity of Chief Campa and his staff. Look how many times he has applied for other jobs – many of which were on the same level – just in partially larger departments Look at the meetings of the No Colors, No Labels and the events that the MPD have hosted or been a part of. Has there really been a true representation of MPD at these things or is it the same ones appearing every time? Why did Campa take down his Facebook accounts after it was discovered he had not gone to Melbourne, Florida as a ‘fact-finding, bring ideas back to Marshall’ type of visit, but because he had applied for a job there?
Before you pass judgments for either side, be smart, be sensible and really dig deep. Find the answers. Ask the officers in the street. Talk, hear, listen and then make your decision.
Before you take the word of one side and before you can state the allegations against Jesus “Eddie” Campa are or aren’t unfounded, get the proof. See it for yourself.
It is the right thing to do … and remember where ‘there is this much smoke, there must be a fire. It may be, that a ride into the sunset by a “caring” Jesus Eddie Campa, the right-est thing to do.’
Having seen the Campa saga from the inside, I agree.
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By Becky Holland, 2017