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FOXBORO - Two Foxboro police officers were hospitalized Wednesday with personal medical conditions, bringing to five the number of officers out of work in the 31-member department and compromising some operations, Police Chief Edward O'Leary says.

Three of the five officers have been out long-term.

Officers Jacklyn M. Cayer and Edward S. McDonald have been out several years with injuries suffered on the job, the chief said.

And officer Frank Azevedo suffered an eye injury last January during an exhibition boxing match in Mansfield organized to raise money to help his brother, who was paralyzed in a motorcycle accident, O'Leary said.

"Because we don't have adequate staffing because of these personnel, we've had to reduce both investigative activities as well as prevention activities," O'Leary said. "It has also created lower patrol staffing on various shifts." O'Leary declined to name the two officers who were hospitalized on Wednesday, or to speculate on how long either will be out.

The chief said he is optimistic Azevodo can return to work shortly.

Because Azevedo was hurt while off duty, he has been on sick leave rather than injured-on-duty leave, he said.

Cayer and McDonald are on injured-on-duty leave, which under state law entitles them to receive 100 percent of their salary, tax free, with benefits, Town Manager Andrew Gala said.

Cayer's pay from the town in fiscal year 2008 was $47,607 and McDonald's was $62,600, according to town records.

The average benefit package for a Foxboro employee adds about $20,000 to town costs, but that figure can vary individually, Finance Director Randy Scollins said.

And, while employees are out on such leave, their position remains open and cannot be filled.

Cayer, whose injury relates to the fatal shooting of an armed man in June 2004, applied last month to the Norfolk County Retirement Board for a disability retirement, O'Leary and Gala said.

McDonald has been out on injured leave since November 2003 and has not applied for disability retirement, O'Leary said.

O'Leary said McDonald suffered an ankle injury while on duty and has been under the care of various orthopedic surgeons. Asked if he believes McDonald will ever be able to return to active duty, the chief said, "I'm not going to speculate on the officer's health and capability."

If Cayer's disability retirement is approved, the department can start the process to replace her position, O'Leary said. She was the department's only female patrol officer at the time of her injury.

On the night of June 23, 2004, Cayer, the first officer responding to a 911 emergency call on Beach Street, shot and killed an armed Walpole man in what the district attorney's investigation found to be a justified shooting.

Following the incident, Cayer was placed on paid administrative leave and was undergoing stress counseling.

Cayer has been on injured-on-duty leave for most of the time since then, O'Leary said.

If Cayer's application for disability retirement is approved by the county board, she would receive 72 percent of her salary, O'Leary said.

Gala said the retirement board assesses each member community annually, based on how many employees are collecting pensions. Foxboro's assessment for fiscal year 2009, which started July 1, is $1.89 million, Gala said.

State Police and the office of District Attorney William R. Keating investigated Cayer's fatal shooting of Thomas Shea of Walpole on June 23, 2004, and "found the shooting to be justified as a matter of law," David Traub, a spokesman for the DA's office, said Wednesday.
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