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Los Alamos Police Chief Wayne Torpy is scheduled to return to work toward the end of March or early April, according to his colleagues, who have been filling in for him since he recently took leave to have open-heart surgery.
“As long as all the doctors say, ‘no problem,’ he’ll be coming back to work,” LAPD Cmdr. Randy Foster said.
Torpy left about four weeks ago for surgery to replace a damaged heart valve.
Phil Taylor, coordinator for Los Alamos County emergency services, has been filling during Torpy’s absence.
He said being acting chief has been an eye-opening experience.
“Until you walk a mile in someone else’s shoes — and I’ve walked at least a couple of yards — I have a way better appreciation for what cops do for a living now than I did before taking the job,” Taylor said. “It’s been a humbling experience.”
While Torpy has been away, Taylor has also been doing his regular job, which also meant staying up for 24 hours to help find a hiker lost in the Bandelier National Monument last weekend.
“Of all the reports I’ve heard, he’s been doing a great job,” Torpy said. Adding that this time, he believes he’s pretty much out of the woods as far as his medical condition goes. His problems began last November when he suffered a medical emergency that put him in the hospital for weeks. Ever since then, he’s been on light and half-day duty until his scheduled heart surgery a few weeks ago.
“Any and all predictable damage from my event in November has been taken care of,” he said. “When I came back last time, I had my pending heart surgery, but now I do not have any other upcoming medical treatments of any kind and the prognosis for the future is excellent.”
Torpy said he’s excited to come back and is looking forward to resuming his old duties and accepting new challenges, including getting the department’s new citizen volunteer program up and running.
“As we deal with fiscal challenges throughout the county in the coming years, one of the ways the police department hopes to meet the challenge is through our volunteer program,” he said. “We do have some financial challenges to meet as a county, and I look forward to finding better ways to do more with less.”
Torpy said what he missed most about the job was the camaraderie of his colleagues.
“It is truly a family, and they have treated me very well during these last three months as I fought to overcome my medical hurdles,” Torpy said.