By Becky Holland
Marcus Aurelis once said, “Everything we hear, is an opinion – not a fact. Everything we see is not truth, but a perspective.”
In fact, it is in the ‘experience’ or the ‘experiencing’ that we actually can validate the truth about something or someone.
In 2015, I was hired by Marshall Police Chief Jesus “Eddie” Campa to be his public information officer and accreditation coordinator for the Marshall Police Department.
After viewing the police world from the inside and from working for Campa, I was surprised.
Thanks to friendships and effective and great working relationships with law enforcement officers and department and agencies over the years, I knew that the operating procedures and management methods by Chief Campa weren’t normal.
Though I have moved on to another city and another job, I still have ties to Marshall – as my family began due to attendance at East Texas Baptist University – then ETBC. So, from time to time, I hear things.
Because of my personal and professional connection to Campa, I did submit a letter to City Administrator Lisa Agnor in regards to somethings I knew – in fact, I sent an email as well. Why? I do not have a grudge against Campa. A few people would say I should. But I don’t. I just think those MPD officers and detectives, and the city I have loved since I was little, deserve better.
Recently, I wrote an editorial about Jesus “Eddie” Campa and the continuing saga in his career and life. There have been some facts that have come to light about the methods and mannerisms that Campa and some of his administrative staff operate on that have not been positive – at least not for him, his family or the MPD.
After reading the most recent newscast from KMHT about an investigation and research done into some of these issues that officers who spoke to the Texas Municipal Police Association were concerned about, I wrote my editorial hoping that the citizens of Marshall would educate themselves properly on these issues. (I do not have a grudge nor do I hate nor do I wish ill will on Chief Campa, his family or anyone at the MPD.)
Officers at the MPD want Campa gone. It is not citizens. It is not politicians. It is his own men and women. That should tell the community and community leaders something.
I read with interest the letter to the editor that Mrs. Charles Wilson wrote proclaiming the greatness of Chief Campa. She wrote in her letter that there had been much criticism coming out about him and she felt that he was transparent, caring, respectful, intelligent and the best chief that Marshall has had.
A few of the highlights she mentioned were the ice cream truck in the park with children, coffee with the chief, making the police cars look professional, how the main roadways are no longer speedways, how he has visited with groups for the betterment of this community and how he has explained what numbers to call at his office for different needs, and passed out cards to make it easy for residents to contact the MPD.
She even mentioned how he is needed and how the community can’t turn their back on him. I shook my head. If she only knew.
As much as I respect Mrs. Wilson, I have to disagree with her. Though I do believe Campa has opened up some communication doors between the community and the department, there is so much more that Mrs. Wilson and others are missing.
Morale has been down in the department for a while now, and apparently decreases daily. Reasons? Reports of mismanagement, under-management(if that is a word), lack of effective communication, favoritism, and lack of trust.
The officers don’t trust Chief Campa and a few others in the administrative levels. They brought their complaints, evidence and other comments to the TMPA and even to the city administration. Everything they presented was valid, truthful and they did so, even knowing that they could lose their jobs and be the target of anger or retaliation or grudges.
If more than 20 people agree that the root of the problems – illegal or unethical – is one particular person, and there is evidence to that fact, then something is wrong. That means there is not a witch hunt and people aren’t out to get someone, there is a problem.
For it to get to the level of his own employees demanding that he leave, well, then common sense will tell you, it is severe.
Looking at Campa’s past in his previous jobs, talking to former co-workers, employees and employers, and even media personnel, I discovered a few things. He had similar problems in other places. On his own social media, Campa stated he was in Melbourne, Florida at the PD there to gather police information. In fact, he applied for a job there.
So, Mrs. Wilson, I think you are wrong. What you hearing or reading is not criticism about Chief Campa – these are his own employees who are presenting facts.
If you look at all these events he has or ‘sponsors,’ you will notice that there are not and have not been a support of his officers and staff. You see the same ones there every time. The proof is there. Mrs. Wilson said that as a community the citizens shouldn’t turn their back on Campa.
Evidence has been brought forth – his own words and own documentation – thanks to the thorough, un-bias and fair reporting from KMHT and the following of protocol that TMPA has done – Campa, it appears, has not been forthcoming with a lot of things. (KMHT could have chosen a ‘tabloid type’ reporting style, but they didn’t. I commend them for being thorough and showing both sides of the story.)
My hope and call out to the city of Marshall is simple – don’t let the ‘bright smiles, bright lights, and feel good, fuzzy moments’ fool you about anyone or anything.
Do some serious educating yourself – and you will see – that if the current leadership at the MPD is allowed to stay – the problems could increase. Too many untruths have been told. The effect all of this is having could distract effect work being done.
Pray about it. From one who has experienced ‘Team Campa’ at MPD, well, I stand with the MPD officers, detectives and staff who have made a call to have him leave.
The dog I have in this fight is not what these officers have – mine is because I know those officers, and I know where they stand ethically and in their jobs, and I know the rules that the Texas Municipal Police Officers’ Association stands for and ‘plays by.’ If TMPA says something is not right, well, then something is not right. So, I will take a stand for the officers and detectives and the TMPA.
It is the right thing to do. Take a stand. Don’t turn your backs on the officers, the detectives and other MPD personnel who have taken oaths to stand and protect you.