Three area officers among six applicants for MCPD chief

Jeff Bobo • Jun 5, 2018 at 5:30 PM

MOUNT CARMEL — The man recently named East Tennessee's Police Officer of the Year will serve as Mount Carmel's interim police chief until a permanent chief is selected.

On Monday, Mount Carmel City Manager Mike Housewright appointed Officer Grady White to the interim chief position, taking affect immediately.

White replaces longtime Police Chief Jeff Jackson, who will serve as Public Safety director until his retirement becomes official on June 30.

Housewright told the Times News he doesn't expect the chief selection process to be complete before Jackson retires, and he felt White should assume the interim chief duties now while he still has Jackson as a resource.

The deadline to submit applications has passed with six candidates seeking the Mount Carmel police chief position.

Interviews haven't been scheduled as of yet, but Housewright said he will form a selection committee, determine which applicants will be interviewed and schedule interviews in the near future.

Among the applicants are White, who has been with the MCPD for the past 16 months; former longtime MCPD Assistant Chief Mike Campbell; former Carter County Sheriff Chris Mathes; and three out-of-state applicants: Frederick Smith of Chandler, Ariz.; Jesus Eduardo Campa of El Paso, Texas; and Ernest Wayne South of Gainesville, Fla.

George "Grady" White

White, who resides in Mount Carmel, joined the MCPD in 2017 after working seven years as a patrolman with the Kingsport Police Department. Prior to entering the field of law enforcement in 2009, White was a field service technician for AEP for 23 years.

"This position will utilize my experience, as well as my determination to assist in the establishment of a superior police department," White stated in his application letter. This opportunity will allow me to demonstrate my abilities in protection of the public, as well as leading by example with integrity, honesty and courage. ... My objective is to build a strong and positive relationship within the department, as well as surrounding agencies."

Mike Campbell

Campbell, who resides in Kingsport, was employed with the MCPD 1997-2014, serving as assistant chief 1999-12. Campbell was MCPD chief for 13 months ending in March 2014, when he resigned to accept his current position as patrolman with the Kingsport Police Department.

During Campbell's time as assistant chief and chief, the MCPD received many honors, including the Clayton C. Hall Award, and became the only Tennessee police agency ever to receive the National Highway Traffic Administration award for number one traffic safety agency in the nation.

"I am dedicated to serving and protecting all — from correctly installing a newborn infant car seat to educating seniors about the dangers of identity theft, and all citizens in between," Campbell stated in his cover letter.

Chris Mathes

Mathes, who resides in Elizabethton, has 26 years of experience in law enforcement including serving as Carter County sheriff from 2006-14. He began his career as a police officer and detective with the Johnson City Police Department (1992-98), and also served as a DEA senior special agent (1998-06). Currently Mathes is a Public Safety officer at ETSU.

"My record of accomplishments include managing a growing and diverse law enforcement agency with over 160 employees and a $7.3 million budget, where I gained valuable experience in managing large scale events, crisis management, emergency preparedness and response," Mathes stated in his letter. "It is my passionate desire to lead such a police department as Mount Carmel into the future by building a culture of service while providing every resident, visitor and stakeholder with the very best law enforcement services."

Ernest Wayne South

South has 29 years experience in law enforcement and has been with the Gainesville, Fla., Police Department since 1998 where he currently holds the rank of lieutenant. He is also an Air Force veteran (1986-90) where he achieved the rank of sergeant.

"Through my background in law enforcement and in the U.S. Military I have excelled in areas of supervision, leadership, management and administration," South stated in his letter.

Jesus Eduardo Campa

Campa is currently a criminal justice professor of Wiley College and most recently served as chief and deputy EMA director of the Marshall (Texas) Police Department (2014-17). Other relevant experience in his 23 year career include 20 years with the El Paso County Sheriff's Office where he retired after serving as chief deputy 2012-14.

"I have the ability to create, implement, and establish community policing programs to accomplish and meet difficult target goals," Campa stated in his letter. "I am a police executive who 'Walks the Talk' on community based policing strategies."

Frederick Smith

Smith was a New Yoke City Police Department patrolman 2004-07; SRO and patrolman with the Maricopa (Arizona) Police Department 2008-15; chief of the Leon (Iowa) Police Department briefly in 2015 before resigning to care for an ill family member; and currently works as director of the San Carlos Apache Healthcare Corp.

"I have great management and leadership skills, but most importantly I have great people skills that allow me to execute my administrative role with passion," Smith said.

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