TMPA: Time for Leadership Change at Marshall PD
Posted March 15, 2017 by East Texas Today | Tweet
By Ashli Acker Dansby
For approximately six weeks KMHT has been looking into claims the Texas Municipal Police Association (TMPA) was requesting documentation and information regarding the Marshall Police Department, specifically Chief Jesus “Eddie” Campa.
Following concerns of retaliation against officers who voiced their complaints to TMPA, and a recent meeting with Chief Campa and City Manager Lisa Agnor; Clint McNear, TMPA’s North Texas Representative, told KMHT the association, which represents more than 24,000 police officers statewide, believes it is time for a the Marshall Police Department to have new leadership.
“It’s time for a leadership change at the Marshall Police Department. It’s no secret that Chief Campa has applied at other police departments, it’s a statement to those that you lead when you’re actively trying to leave the organization and trying to leave those that you are trying to lead,” McNear said. “In that he wants to leave, they (officers) are ready for a change as well. There are numerous issues that have taken place, and ultimately, he’s trying to leave and the officers there, I believe they agree with him that it’s time.”
Some of the issues discussed by officers with TMPA had to do with Global Positioning Systems (GPS) being placed on some patrol cars without officer’s knowledge. Earlier this year, TMPA sent an open records request to the City of Marshall asking for all Marshall Police Department policies and/or Standard Operating Procedures for GPS tracking devices being used on Marshall Police Department fleet vehicles.
TMPA also requested all emails sent to or from Campa’s personal and city email accounts that contained the words “GPS,” “Global Positioning System,” “tracker” or “tracking” in either the body and/or subject line of the emails. TMPA asked for all such emails dating from January 1, 2016.
“There were four or five officers that discovered GPS tracking systems secreted on their vehicles. That is not a common practice to conceal a GPS tracker on a police vehicle. Now typically, the computer system or radio systems in a police car will have GPS on them, which Marshall does not at this time. To intentionally place a GPS tracker on a vehicle is usually for one of two reasons: either law enforcement uses them to place on a suspect’s vehicle, after obtaining a court order, to determine if they believe they are human trafficking or an automobile theft ring or narcotics dealing; or when it would be applicable to law enforcement is if someone felt a police officer was maybe a dirty cop,” McNear said.
“There were four or five officers at Marshall PD that discovered GPS trackers on their vehicles that had been secreted on their vehicles unbeknownst to them, when they contacted TMPA, and when we questioned the chief about it and they (officers) questioned the chief about it, he had conflicting excuses or reasons for doing that. He gave various officers different reasons why he was doing that, but at the end of the day, there is no transparency, and that’s not the way you conduct yourself professionally.”
“(These are) respected officers that are very active in the community and have done many great things. The chief made it clear they are not under any investigation, but in some instances said he was wanting to see what they are doing or monitor their activity; well our stance is that is an investigation, and then he hasn’t notified the officer they are under investigation, and that is a violation of the government code for civil servants that he has not notified the officer he is under investigation,” McNear said. “So then he decided they were not under investigation, he was just doing it to see how busy and how good his officers were doing.”
McNear added if the department wanted to use GPS tracking devices, it was TMPA’s stance a system should be purchased and installed on every car, saying it was inappropriate to “target officers for various reasons.” In the past several months, Marshall PD has begun to use a new radio system, approved for purchase late last year by the Marshall City Commission. The new radio system does have a GPS tracking device for each vehicle, according to Campa.
“Well, the GPS tracking system, they are equipped in all of our units now due to our radio system upgrade. It’s an AVL system that all the vehicles with our new radios now have,” Campa said.
TMPA requested last month from the City of Marshall records of all grants received by MPD since January 1, 2015, all donations received for the K9 unit since January 1, 2015, donations received for the specified purchase of K9 ballistic vests since January 1, 2015, all donations received for the use of hosting community events since January 1, 2015 and a list of expenditures of D.A.R.E. account funds from February 2015 – November 2015.
“There are still some allegations out there concerning the use of funds, the use of donated funds. We’re still working to resolve that, which of those allegations might be true, and the facts surrounding those, and we’re not quite ready to speak on that yet,” McNear said.
TMPA also sent an open records request to the City of Marshall seeking any expense reports filed by Campa for a recent trip to Melbourne, Fla. McNear said the City of Marshall reported no city funds were spent on the trip, and he found no taxpayer monies had been spent. According to McNear, at the time of the trip Campa maintained on social media that he visited the Melbourne department to exchange ideas and policing techniques, when in reality he was applying for a chief’s job that was open there.
On February 9, 2017; McNear contacted both Agnor and Campa via email, regarding concerns he had that police officers would be retaliated against for speaking out to TMPA. In the email, obtained by KMHT through an open records request to the City of Marshall, McNear wrote “I’m deeply troubled after receiving texts from law enforcement attending an FBI LEEDA class in Bossier this morning. I was informed that there was public classroom discussion/comments, made by Chief Campa and his administration, about alleged personnel issues at Marshall Police Department. Obviously this lack of professionalism is not the norm of most law enforcement administrations. I hope this is not indicative of retaliation and continued problems to expect.”
McNear said he’d hoped Chief Campa would have provided TMPA with a plan for drastic change but so far, his concerns have not been alleviated.
“There are so many issues at this point, a failure of leadership, that it’s really time for a change of leadership (at MPD), but nothing has been communicated to us. Every time I meet with the officers there, they want to be there, they want to serve that community. They love the support they have in their community, and the city council has been very supportive of public safety there in general,” McNear said. “We all know that chiefs have a shelf life from two – six years, or two – seven years, and depending on their ability to lead and the decisions they make, sometimes their shelf life is shorter than others. It’s nothing personal, it’s strictly all business; the people there (officers) are ready for and thirsty for new leadership.”
“We have been made aware of concerns that have been expressed by some of our police officers,” Agnor told KMHT in a statement. “We take all employee concerns seriously, and are working through the appropriate channels to address these concerns.”
KMHT asked Campa on Tuesday for comment regarding TMPA’s stance that it is time for a change of leadership at MPD, Campa declined to comment.
According to their website, the mission of TMPA is to protect the rights and interests of Texas law enforcement officers by providing the best legal assistance in the country, effective lobbying at state and local levels, affordable training and exemplary member support. TMPA was founded in 1950 and has protected the interests of law enforcement officers ever since. As the largest law enforcement association in Texas, TMPA represents more than 24,000 local, county and state law enforcement officers across Texas.