Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Editorial: Confidence in Campa

March 19, 2017 at 4 a.m.

The dust up between Marshall Police Chief Jesus "Eddie" Campa and certain police officers has been coming for a long time. For months rumors circulated that the Texas Municipal Police Association (TMPA) labor organization was mediating a dispute between Campa and officers within his department. Only recently has the smudge of rumor and speculation rubbed away as some of the allegations against the chief were made clear.

Now that these accusations have seen the light of day, it appears they were kept in the dark so long because they were just shadows. The allegations also appear to be politically motivated and timed during an election campaign for maximum impact. Campa is not well liked by some of the political elite and well connected in the city and county. They don't like his self-promotion and that he will not fall in line with their wishes. We admit some of the self-promotion and big boy toys for the department are overboard.

According to the TMPA, the allegations began after officers reported having GPS devices placed in their vehicles without their knowledge, while Campa stated the devices were just being tested before eventually being placed on all vehicles. Sounds like the officers may have something to hide or maybe they were not working. Other allegations have been thus far unfounded, even by the admission of the TMPA.

When Campa arrived in Marshall there was a noticeable uptick in the visibility of police on the street and crime started a downward trend. The crime rate has seen a sharp decrease: 20 percent in 2014, 3 percent in 2015 and 5 percent in 2016. Nearly immediately after his arrival, Campa instituted a warrant recall program reaping 47 arrests, collecting $93,000 in unpaid fines and clearing 400 warrants from the system.

But Campa's benefit has done more for Marshall than to better its statistics. Through community outreach efforts such as No Colors, No Labels, the Cool Cops ice cream truck and the recently started Ministry Advisory Committee, Campa has helped change the perception of the community towards the police.

And that paradigm shift has paid big dividends – with the lines of communication now open, police and residents have been able to work in tandem towards creating a city that makes it difficult for criminals to roost.

It is unfortunate that Campa has expressed a desire to move on with his career. But he has made no secret about it, and it is only correct for him to do what is right for his family and future.

At this juncture, the TMPA has not provided any concrete data to prove any misdeeds by Campa. This sounds like a political power play by the officers laying the foundation for who they want as police chief. Campa deserves our support for what he has accomplished in making the streets safer than they were three years ago.



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