Monday, October 12, 2015

As old hand moves on, city has opportunity in picking next police chief Written by the Longview News Journal

I am flattered and humbled by all the great comments that we are receiving for all the hard work we are doing in Marshall, Texas.  I am sharing another editorial that was written by the Longview News Journal on our success.  The key to our success has been living up to our motto “Putting Our Community First.”  
                                                                                  Jesus Eddie Campa

Editorial: As old hand moves on, city has opportunity in picking next police chief
                                                    Written by the Longview News Journal

Longview Police Chief Don Dingler has devoted 42 years of his life to making Longview a safer place, a record of service that makes him fully deserving of a good retirement.

He will begin that phase of his life after his last day with the city July 31. We wish him the very best and hope the rest of our community will do the same.
Dingler has seen enormous change from those first days back in the 1970s when he first put on a uniform. A few years back, he recalled for us that when he joined the force, the only technology in a patrol car was a two-channel radio. Today the Longview Police Department is a modern law enforcement agency in just about every way.
There is ample evidence that as Dingler has risen through the ranks, he's grown with each new post he's taken.
Perhaps the highest praise that can be given him is that the men and women he has trained and led will pick right up where he's leaving off. There will be no crisis in leadership.
Having said that, we hope City Manager David Willard and the City Council will think carefully about what kind of leadership is needed for Longview in the years ahead.
The next chief already may exist within the ranks of the police force, but it's possible Longview could benefit by the leadership of someone from outside our area. We hope all involved in the hiring process keep an open mind to that.
As an example, we point to the success the city of Marshall has had in hiring Jesus "Eddie" Campa from El Paso as its police chief. In his first year, Campa has successfully changed the attitude and effectiveness of the Marshall department. He has done it not by firing and hiring but with new ideas and procedures that have crime rates down and community engagement rising.
Of course, new ideas can come from within as easily as from the outside. In either case, it requires a leader who's prepared to undergo the temporary pain that change usually brings. Willard and council members need to be willing to endure the growth pains, too.
Just how much change is needed in the Longview force is a matter of debate, and the public has not been privy to enough information to make a good judgment about what must be done.
At a minimum, we'd say a new leader must be able to solve the hiring woes that have left the force understaffed for years. Being understaffed has certainly not helped in reducing crime in Longview and has put more pressure on the officers now on the force to cover for the shortage.
The new chief certainly is going to be tasked as well with addressing a recent surge in violence. Our streets are quieter now than they were earlier this year, but violence seems to be simmering below the surface. The heat must continue to be turned down before it boils over again.
The prospect of interim leadership may be disquieting for the department, but rushing to any decision would not be wise. A thoughtful, clear idea about where Longview is going as a city should guide the process and will help guarantee the success of the person who will fill Dingler's shoes.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Editorial: Outstanding Marshall Night Out

Editorial: Outstanding Marshall Night Out

Oct. 11, 2015 at 4 a.m.
Marshall News Messenger

It's usually a good sign that an event went well when multiple members of City Commission take time out of a regular meeting to give a standing ovation to a member of the audience for hosting that event, which is exactly what happened to Marshall Police Chief Jesus "Eddie" Campa this past Thursday.
The commission wanted to specifically recognize Campa for the and his department's efforts in hosting the first truly city-wide National Night Out celebration and for making it a big success, both as an entertaining event for residents to enjoy and for staying true to the purpose of the national celebration that brought in around 2,000 attendees, according to their Facebook page.
Free hotdogs and burgers, cooked all night by volunteers from the Harrison County Sheriff's Office including Sheriff Tom McCool, were definitely a popular item as the lines for the tasty treats stretched out into the Harrison County Courthouse square for almost the entire night.
The event had a great variety of activities for all to enjoy and plenty of children had wide smiles on as they enjoyed bounce houses, inflatable slides, face painting booths and classic carnival games. Representatives from All Cypress Veterinary Hospital even brought some goats and baby pigs for a miniature petting zoo.
Great entertainment was planned out for the adults as well. Attendees got to check out a classic car show, tour booths to learn more about different community services, participate in a raffle and listen to live performances from the East Texas Baptist University Marching Band.
The public promotion ceremony for Sgt. Sarah Hodges and Lt. Clint Guttirrez was also a special moment for the community as the department honored these city employees by promoting two of its best.

Some of the most popular events of the night were the live demonstrations put on by the Marshall Police SWAT and K-9 team members. Attendees gasped, cheered and learned about the different tactics these units use to make sure both the officers and the residents they are trying to protect stay safe in life-threaten scenarios. For the K-9 demonstrations, attendees watched how these officers and their canine companions sniff out illegal drugs and take down criminals during drug and bite demonstrations, while Capt. John Best explained why the dogs and officers do certain actions to keep each other safe. The SWAT demonstration featured a high-risk vehicle arrest scenario, which gave audience members quite a jump when a flashbang was used to arrest the suspect and secure the innocent passenger inside.
One of the most important aspects of the night, however, was the level of interaction between residents and members of the city's police and fire departments. Residents could be seen regularly chatting with SWAT members or other officers in uniform, snapping selfies with them and learning about what they do to keep Marshall safe.
The focal point of National Night Out, both as an organization and an event, is to show potential criminals that residents and the civil servants of the communities they are trying to hurt will stand together against crime. Residents truly had an opportunity to know some of the faces behind the badges that are looking out for them every day within a fun family setting. Great National Night Out Tuesday night and we are looking forward to an even bigger and better National Night Out next year.