The humor, which Camp said he got from his father, takes the edge off a very real problem Camp sees in law enforcement.
“I think you have things that, unfortunately, in this day and age of the digital media, social media, you can’t read a paper anymore without something being on there about an officer being arrested or something like this,” he said, adding that many applicants for the force today have a history of drugs or arrests.
“We have bad points and I think we have placed an emphasis when we recruit people ... on recruiting people that are people of integrity,” he said. “We’ve all done stuff. ... We need people that will man up and say, ‘Look, this is what I did. I did this wrong.’”
Camp, who jokingly said he held a record for suspensions at a former job, came into law enforcement after spending most of his career in information technology. The published author also spent 40 years in a second vocation — the ministry. Camp retired in 2012 after 40 years as a priest, bishop and archbishop in the Anglican Church.
His faith also inspires his musical hobby.
“I learned how to play [guitar] about six years ago. I taught myself just on the Internet,” he said. “I’ve got a musical background, singing and I played trumpet for years. ... I was Don Quixote in ‘Man of La Mancha’ in high school. Somebody called me a Renaissance man because I’ve done all kinds of things.”
Name: Mark Camp
City of Residence: Kennesaw
Occupation: Police officer
Family: Married 42 years with two grown children
Education: Doctor of Theology, Master of Theology, Bachelor of Arts
How did your career path lead to law enforcement? What is your background in law enforcement?
A: I had always wanted to be a police officer but family and vocational commitments kept me from doing so. After I moved to Georgia in 1995, I decided to become a reserve police officer with an agency in Cobb County. In 1997 I decided to leave my Information Technology position and went full time into law enforcement. I have 18 years of law enforcement experience, the last eight with the city of Cartersville. I have served in a variety of positions, including patrol, DUI Task Force, Special Operations, training, supervision and management. I currently serve as the division commander of Support Services, public affairs officer, recruiting officer, state certification manager and staff aide to the chief of police.
Coming from IT and working with technology in your current position, how is technological advancements — tablets, cellphones, gadgets, etc. — and social media changing/impacting the law enforcement community?
A: The advance of technology has had a big impact on how law enforcement does its job. For example, we no longer have to write reports by hand or write citations by hand. They are done on the computer now. Information is more readily available to us. We can get instant notifications from other agencies, can communicate faster with other departments within our own city government. Surveillance methodologies have also advanced tremendously.
Social media is both a blessing and a curse.
House Bill 60 — the changes in Georgia’s gun legislation — recently was signed by the governor. How do you feel that will impact agencies like Cartersville Police Department?
A: Let me say first off that I am a strong supporter of the Second Amendment. Sometimes, in order to maintain our constitutionally guaranteed liberties, we have to accept some things that we do not like.
As far as HB 60 is concerned, I think the underlying premise is good — that is, upholding the Second Amendment — however, I think we are on a dangerous precipice at the same time. As law enforcement officers, the bill makes us have to assume that if a person is walking down the street carrying a gun, they must be authorized to have that weapon. Right now, if our “sixth sense” tells us that something just isn’t right about who is carrying a weapon or where they are carrying it, we can stop and ask if they have a weapons carry permit. After July 1, we can no longer do that unless we suspect that another crime has been committed.
But, liberty must always be considered with the right of the public to feel safe. I envision us getting lots of calls from concerned citizens about people carrying guns in public places and we may not be able to do anything about it and then it looks like we are not doing our jobs.
I also believe we will have some citizens purposely testing law enforcement officers to try and get officers to violate their rights. We could also have more shootings as a result. I hope not.
You recently published a book. Tell me about that.
A: During my law enforcement career I have also been involved with ministry. I have always been bi-vocational. In September 2012, I retired from the ministry after 40 years. For the last few years I served as a priest, bishop and archbishop in the Anglican Church. Over the years, I had taught the Gospel of John many times, and when I got my doctorate, I wrote a book on the Gospel of John. I refined it over the years and finally published it. It is titled, “Portraits of Christ as Painted in the Gospel of John.” Each chapter shows a different portrait or aspect of Christ’s person and work. There are 21 chapters in John, each of which shows Christ in a unique light, thus there are 21 chapters in the book.
Is there a case or moment in your career with police that stands out for you?
A: When I was with another agency, my shift was on duty the night several years ago that we cornered Mark Barton, the day trader who had killed several people in Atlanta. That was an interesting night to say the least and one I will never forget.
What makes Bartow County special?
A: I think the people of Bartow County, for the most part, hold to traditional family values. I think there is also a strong basis of religious convictions here that we have not lost and are not ashamed of. There is also a lot of potential for economic growth here.
What would people be surprised to learn about you?
A: I enjoy translating the Greek New Testament and am currently learning Latin.
When playing music, is there something you look for that draws you to a particular song? If so, what and why?
A: I like to play bluegrass as well as praise and worship music. Probably the thing that draws me to a song the most is whether I can play it or not! As far as praise and worship music though, is ultimately whether or not the song is theologically correct. There are a lot of “feel good” songs out there that are way off base scripturally, in my opinion.
A: Definitely pizza with pepperoni and black olives. I could eat it three times a day. If no pizza is available, then spaghetti with meatballs. That’s my Italian heritage coming out.
If you were stranded on a deserted island, what three things could you not live without?
A: My wife, my dog and one of my guitars.