Injury leaves police without chief
A possibility of surgery means Correa is out with "no timetable" for his return to HPD
The Honolulu police chief will be on leave indefinitely because he might require more surgery for his back, according to the Honolulu Police Commission.
Chief Boisse Correa has been on injured leave since Aug. 31 because of an unspecified injury that was incurred during work.
In the meantime, Deputy Chief Paul Putzulu has been operating as acting chief. The chief declined comment on whether he continues to make daily decisions at the department, but said he is in regular contact with the command staff.
"When you're the chief, you're the chief," said Correa yesterday after a meeting with the Police Commission. "I'm not going away, I'm coming back."
Correa also declined to comment on the specific nature of his injury and health. Commission Chairman Boyd Andrade said it is uncertain when Correa would report back for duty.
"He said he may have to go see another doctor, but there was no timetable on coming back," Andrade said. "He just said he might have to go through another surgery."
Correa said he was instructed by his doctors to stay home until he is cleared for work. He had two back operations last year, one in April and another in August.
The Honolulu Police Department did not make an official announcement of Correa's leave until yesterday. Andrade said Correa wanted to inform the commission of his leave during its regular meeting yesterday first, as a courtesy, before informing the public.
The chief said he has full confidence in the department's ability to run without him and that he wants to return to work.
"I picked these people ... and they're the best," Correa said.
Mayor Mufi Hannemann said he is not concerned about the department's operations. "I think the best thing we can do now is hope that he gets better," he said. "We don't have to push the panic button yet."
Hannemann said he will let some time pass and continue to get feedback from the police commissioners, who are appointed by the mayor.
"If this short-term arrangement wasn't working out, I'd be concerned," Hannemann said.
CrimeStoppers Honolulu President Dave Reed said he also was not aware of the chief's absence until yesterday, but that he is not concerned, either.
"I would have a problem if he was not responsive," Reed said. "But whenever I've needed his involvement in something, he's always been responsive, and I think that's true with the rest of the community."