Ailing top cop focuses on recovery
Honolulu police Chief Boisse Correa might need up to two months to recover from a back surgery, his third in two years.
Correa has been on injured leave since Aug. 31 because of an unspecified back injury incurred during work. Last Thursday his pain worsened, and he had surgery at the Queen's Medical Center on Friday, said Police Commission Chairman Boyd Andrade.
Andrade said Correa could not yet provide a specific timetable on when he might return to work, but that it should be from six to eight weeks.
Correa had back surgeries in April and August 2006.
Deputy Chief Paul Putzulu continues to run the day-to-day operations of the Honolulu Police Department.
"I've told the acting chief that he and his staff are doing a fantastic job on running the department," Andrade said. "We're all praying for the chief."
Andrade said Correa is now communicating with the commission through Putzulu, who is keeping them abreast of the chief's condition.
Putzulu said yesterday that when the chief initially went on leave, he did not know how long he would be out of the office and was doing some work from home.
"For the past month, though, he's cut back and really focused on taking care of his back," Putzulu said. "The chief hasn't met or spoken with his commanders since September, and he looks forward to seeing them and everyone else at HPD."
Correa has declined comment on the specific nature of his injury or the condition that has ailed his back.
Mayor Mufi Hannemann said he was able to speak with Correa on Tuesday.
"He is still recovering, but it was good to see he was in fine spirits," Hannemann said.
When asked how long would the chief have to be out before Hannemann became concerned, the mayor said he would rather focus on giving Correa enough room to recover. Hannemann said he will continue to monitor Correa's situation.
"First and foremost is the chief's health," the mayor said. "If the situation at the department was amiss, I would be concerned, but the department is doing a wonderful job and we haven't missed a beat."