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Police chief ambivalent about his retirement


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POSTED: Thursday, August 27, 2009

Seated behind his desk in his office yesterday morning, Honolulu Police Chief Boisse Correa teared up as the reality of wearing his police uniform for the last time finally sank in.

“;It's just been wonderful,”; he said. “;It's been an experience that has been truly enjoyable.”;

After 39 years with the department, Correa stepped down as chief yesterday and was given a send-off by officers at the headquarters on Beretania Street. During an interview with reporters, he reflected on his career that started at age 24 and included being “;shot at, stabbed at, punched, hit with a shovel, hit with a bat, spit at ...

“;Now as a chief, I'm still being attacked, but I'm not being attacked with shovels and bats. It's words of innuendo,”; said Correa, who was denied a second, five-year term by the Honolulu Police Commission for reasons that remain unclear.

“;I accepted their decision,”; Correa said. “;I'm moving on in a positive state of mind. Someday all the facts will come out and it should come out, but it's not going to be today.”;

A couple of weeks before the commission's decision in May, commission members gave him an exemplary rating for his performance in 2008. But his evaluation in 2007 was less than stellar after the commission criticized him for not informing them in a timely manner about a four-month absence. Correa was on injured leave from Aug. 31 to Dec. 31, 2007. He underwent back surgery on Oct. 19 of that year.

Today, Correa said his back is in great shape, but at the time he was on leave he described the pain as horrendous. “;At one time, I thought I would end up in a wheelchair,”; he said.

While on leave, Correa said he continued to make all major decisions for the department, either from his hospital room or his Kuliouou home. Correa also faced criticism by many in the rank and file who were dissatisfied with his disciplinary policies and eliminating a four-day workweek. Regardless, he praised officers and the department yesterday. “;The officers and the employees are second to none,”; he said.

Calling the job of police chief a difficult yet rewarding experience, Correa, 63, said he is ready for what lies ahead.

“;I'm happy,”; he said. “;It's my time to go.”;

He said he is confident the commission will select the right person to serve as the next chief, noting there are qualified, competent leaders within the department who can handle the job.

Correa said he hopes to continue in public service.

“;The doors are open,”; he said. “;Who knows what the future holds for me?”;

He also looks forward to spending time with his family. Tomorrow, his 93-year-old father, Lawrence Correa, arrives from Missouri. His father lives on a farm with Correa's sister and her family.

Something Correa was to attempt today, his first day after stepping down from a position that demanded a round-the clock schedule, was sleeping in. “;I don't know if I can wake up late,”; he said. “;It's going to take a little while to de-institutionalize myself, I think, and get back to being a normal person.”;

               

     

 

CORREA'S CAREER

        In his 39-year career with the Honolulu Police Department, Boisse Correa was instrumental in:
       

» achieving a drop in violent and property crimes, arson and auto thefts during his term as police chief;

       

» instituting a homeland security warning system;

       

» conducting the first sweeps of beach parks for illegal campers;

       

» serving as lead coordinator for major events that included the Asian Development Bank meeting, Y2K, Miss Universe Pageant and NFL Pro Bowl.