GPS Tracking Details Revealed Within Marshall PD
Posted April 24, 2017 by East Texas Today |   

TMPS Continues Call for Change in Leadership

By Ashli Acker Dansby

In October of 2015, StarChase, the maker of GPS tracking technology, held a demonstration for the Marshall Police Department.  At the time, Chief Jesus “Eddie” Campa told Shreveport’s KTBS News he “had some discretionary funds available and would like to see a few StarChase’s on a select number of vehicles in the next few months, for a trial run.”

TSO1

TSO Mobile device

Campa told KTBS, if the hypothetical trial was successful, he said he would like to add StarChase to all MPD vehicles. Campa did not disclose to the media that exactly one year prior, he had already purchased eight TSO Mobile GPS trackers and, for nearly a year, he had been tracking MPD patrol and criminal investigation vehicles and the officers driving those cars.

Through an open records request, KMHT Radio recently obtained roughly 30 invoices spanning more than two years, from October of 2014, to January of 2017 relating to the installation and use of TSO GPS tracking
devices.

On October 13, 2014, shortly after being hired in August as MPD’s chief, an invoice from Florida based TSO Mobile, confirms a sales order for six TSO Mobile GPS tracking devices at a cost of $1,764.94.  A second invoice dated November 3, 2014 confirms the purchase of two more of the devices, costing $599.98.   By December the first six devices ordered had been placed on MPD units, and the second two devices were placed on vehicles within a few months of their
purchase.

When officers began discovering the gps devices affixed to their units in late 2016, they were told those with tracking devices had only been tracked for about six months, when in reality, at least seven of those, for the most part, had been tracked for the better part of two years.  All told, the total cost of the TSO devices was $7,575.62.

TSO2

TSO Mobile Invoice

“Law enforcement is held to a high standard and leadership within law enforcement has to be held to an even higher standard.  We’ve been given multiple reasons why the tracking devices were placed and what that information was for or was not for, and so far the many excuses and the conflicting answers, none of them have proven to be true, and a lot of them in fact don’t make sense.  It’s hard to expect people to follow you when you’ve deceived them, you’ve lied to them, and they feel targeted.  It’s not a good environment to work,” said Clint McNear, Field Representative with the Texas Municipal Police Association.

In March, KMHT first told you TMPA was looking into claims from several Marshall police officer’s that they were being targeted by the chief for investigation without their knowledge; because police officers are civil servants, they are to be notified when being investigated.

TMPA was aware four or five officers had found the TSO devices on their vehicles, and KMHT’s open records request revealed eight total devices were affixed to MPD vehicles at.  In the weeks since our original report in mid-March, officers have found at least two more of the TSO devices affixed to vehicles.

“A lot of these guys are afraid for their jobs, their paychecks and their families, and wonder why they are being targeted,” McNear said.

Following KMHT’s March report, Campa told many local media outlets the gps tracking devices were a part of the rollout of a new AVL radio system that was considered and approved during the late summer of 2016.  Campa said the rollout was about officer safety.  McNear says the 2014 purchase of the TSO trackers, and the fact that dispatchers has no access to the TSOP trackers, shows this assertion is not transparent.

“There are many departments that utilize GPS tracking either through their mobile data terminals (MDTs) in the car or through the radio system, and that can be real time tracked by dispatch, so if an officer is in trouble or not answering, or a citizen says there is an officer injured, dispatch can access that data real time and send the nearest units, or determine where the officer’s location is.  Chief Campa had indicated he was doing this for officer safety, and for various other reasons, but if in fact dispatch can’t access that data, it has absolutely no bearing on officer safety at all.  Dispatch, who would needs the information would not know where the officers are, there is no real time information being displayed to them, which really leads to some of the original concerns we had as to why he is tracking these people,” McNear said.  “The GPS systems that he is using are completely unrelated to computer or the radio system, so one is not needed for the other.  You wouldn’t purchase and secrete GPS systems to roll out a new radio system or to roll out a new MDT system to your vehicles, those are completely separate systems.”

While dispatchers couldn’t access the TSO trackers, Campa did have access.  In an email dated January 19, 2017, Lieutenant William Huffman provided Campa with a login password and user name to access a mobile app allowing Campa to see the TSO gps data.  The username was JCAMPA, the username is MPD1.  Both the username and password have since been changed.

“One of the excuses he gave was he did this to track some of the officer’s activity and how busy they are, because they are very active officers, when in fact one of the devices was secreted in a Criminal Investigation Division Lieutenant’s vehicle who is assigned to the police station.  That vehicle stays at the station, and it’s interesting that if you are trying to track the activity of patrol officers and their high activity that you would secrete on in a CID Lieutenant’s vehicle that is assigned to the station and probably isn’t going to be an active vehicle.” said McNear.

McNear says Campa has given multiple conflicting reasons why he has used the devices, calling his integrity into question.

“He indicated during my meeting with him that he’s not sure he wants to be the chief anymore, and we know that he’s applied elsewhere.  With these glaring integrity issues, the community, the citizens and the officers there, they deserve better leadership.  I think people would expect the person at the highest level to have the most integrity and really, we’ve seen that completely eroded away, there is none,” said McNear.

The day after KMHT aired our earlier March story, Chief Campa met with officers in a session which was meant to “clear the air.”

“He held a meeting with the officers that was supposed to be an open forum, you could say anything you want, they were going to clear the air; several officers that spoke were called in and chastised and chewed out.  They feel somewhat threatened for their jobs now after being told it was an open forum to speak, the problems just continue to mount,” said McNear.

 “Almost the entire police department met with the City Manager, and it was made glaringly obvious to her that there is an almost 100% dissatisfaction with the leadership at the police department.  The chief has made comments that other chiefs have survived multiple votes of no confidence, and he’s kind of brazenly dug his heels in.”

 Within a week of our story airing, Marshall City Manager Lisa Agnor met with officers about these issues.  Since that time, she’s met with officer’s individually about their concerns.

“We are aware of continued concerns expressed by some of our police officers and as stated earlier, we take these concerns seriously. We continue to work through the appropriate channels to address the concerns,” said Agnor.

Last Thursday afternoon, KMHT contacted Chief Campa via email and requested an interview with him regarding the TSO GPS device.  KMHT also attached 25 written questions we intended to ask Campa during that interview.  He responded on 8:06 p.m. Friday, and said he would be unavailable for interview all this week, but might be available next week.

KMHT informed Campa of our intent to release this week a news article about the TSO GPS devices, but offered to do a follow up story featuring an interview with Campa, or allow him to answer our written questions via email, he did not respond.

After MPD officers contacted TMPA with their original concerns regarding police department leadership, McNear became concerned officers were being retaliated against by Chief Campa and his administration; due to fears of retaliation, KMHT is not releasing the name of the majority of police officers that were tracked with the TSO devices, however a well respected MPD officer has given us permission to use his name; that officer is Sergeant Jeff Ash, 2016’s G.O. Cooper Law Enforcement Officer of the Year.  Ash is not alone though, another G.O. Cooper Law Enforcement Officer of the Year was also tracked by Campa.