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Univ. of San Diego School of Law

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Thursday, December 11, 2008

Correa seeks transparency

Honolulu police Chief Boisse Correa said he wants to release video footage of a Taser incident that caused two officers to temporarily lose their law enforcement authority.

Correa came under heated criticism last week from the police officers union for his decisions to relieve officers of their authority when under investigation. Officers used the Taser incident in Makakilo as an example of what they consider Correa's unfair enforcement of HPD's Relief of Police Authority policy.

"We are meeting with city attorneys to see if the Taser video recording can be released," Correa said in a written statement yesterday. "Release of the recording would promote transparency and underscore the importance of the policy. We believe that the policy was used appropriately. My staff and I stand by our decision."

Up to 300 police officers, all members of union State of Hawaii Organization of Police Officers, rallied Friday night to protest the chief's use of the policy.

Correa said 32 officers have been placed on restricted duty this year due to pending investigations, of whom 15 remain on restricted status. Five of those cases are from last year.

The policy calls for the temporary removal of an officer's police powers due to an ongoing criminal or administrative investigation or for medical reasons.

Correa said HPD management asked the union to submit proposed policy changes, but none was received.

In 2007, the median length of time that officers were restricted was 112 days. This year, the median length is about 30 days, according to the department.

The case involving use of Tasers occurred on Sept. 10, when police received a call of a disturbance at Uhiuala Street in Makakilo.

Two men, one of whom was naked and allegedly under the influence of drugs, lunged at the officers. The officers used their Tasers on the suspects. [Mark Godsey]

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