By Hugh Clark
Advertiser Big Island Bureau
HILO, Hawaii As a young man, Jimmy Correa knew he wanted to serve the public in uniform. He applied for a job with the Hawaii County police and fire departments and with the U.S. Postal Service.
The police department was the first to respond, and in 1975, the Hilo-born Correa embarked on a career that would see him rise through the ranks from patrolman to chief of police.
Correa, 47, will be sworn in during public ceremonies at 11 a.m. tomorrow by Mayor Harry Kim, who called the new chief "sincere and hard-working."
Although the mayor was among those who objected to the process by which the Hawaii County Police Commission selected a new chief following the October retirement of Wayne Carvalho, Kim said this week that he believes Correa to be a good choice.
Kim, former Civil Defense administrator for the Big Island, worked closely with Correa in the 1980s while Correa commanded the Puna district. Kim said Correa meets his criterion of being "aboveboard and open."
The new chief was endorsed by many current and retired police officers and law enforcement officials from around the state. Even a persistent critic of the police department, Del Pranke of Puna, says he has nothing against Correa.
Correa said there are no plans for a major shake-up in the 300-member police force.
One of his priorities is to earn accreditation, which requires a lengthy process that involves internal review of practices and policies in an effort to meet national standards. Correa feels that accreditation would go far toward rebuilding the publics confidence in Big Island police.
The new chief is the fifth of eight children and first son of Jimmy Sr. and Kikuye Correa. He graduated from St. Joseph High School in 1971 and attended the University of Hawaii-Hilo for 3 1/2 years before becoming a police officer.
He was promoted to detective in 1980 and patrol lieutenant in 1987,and served as vice commander before earning the rank of captain in 1989. Correa was promoted to acting major in charge of technical services in 1994, the same year he attended the FBI Academy. He was appointed deputy chief in 1995 and served as acting chief after Carvalhos retirement.
Correa is married to the former Adeline Peloso, an office manager. Their son, James, 25, is a police officer. Daughter Kris, 22, a former star prep athlete, is a senior at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas, where she is studying for a career in medical technology. Correa also has a granddaughter.
[back to top]