Susan Ballard named as next Honolulu Police chief
The Honolulu Police Commission made the announcement Wednesday afternoon.
Police Major Susan Ballard has been chosen to become the next Honolulu Police chief.
"It was very humbling, the support that I got from every level of the department," said Ballard.
Ballard will be the first woman to serve as Honolulu Police chief.
The Honolulu Police Commission made the announcement Wednesday afternoon. Ballard had an interview with commission members on Tuesday, along with the other two local finalists, Retired Major Kurt Kendro, and Retired Assistant Chief Kevin Lima. There was a total of seven finalists for the job.
The veteran officer was a unanimous choice by the commission. Chairman Max Sword had recused himself from the process due to his wife's familial relationship with one of the candidates.
The decision comes days after the former chief Louis Kealoha, his wife, city deputy prosecutor Katherine Kealoha, and four former and current police officers were indicted in federal court on charges that include conspiracy to commit offenses, obstruction, giving false statements to federal officers, bank fraud, aggravated identity theft, and criminal forfeiture.
“I am glad the process is completed," said Prosecuting Attorney Keith Kaneshiro. "I look forward to working with Chief Ballard.”
Acting Mayor Roy Amemiya issued a statement after the selection, saying in part that "Mayor Caldwell and his administration look forward to sitting down with Chief Ballard very soon to discuss the long-term vision for HPD and a way forward in restoring the highest degree of confidence in our police department. ... I congratulate Chief Ballard on being selected O'ahu's first female police chief, and thank Acting Chief Cary Okimoto for his decades of public service and the outstanding job he has done during the interim period."
"This historic appointment of a veteran officer with 32 years of experience will begin a new era of HPD leadership," said City Council Chair Ron Menor in a statement, "at a time when our city faces an array of public safety issues that require aggressive enforcement driven by collaboration with the community."
Ballard was also a police chief candidate finalist in 2004 when Boisse Correa was picked to lead the department.
She also put in an application for the job when Correa retired in 2009, but did not get the job.
Eight years later, it would be Ballard's turn.
"After 32-years, I've been here since Moby Dick was a minnow," joked Ballard.
Ballard's colleagues said she has a reputation of being tough, fair, and ethical.
"Everybody will be on a fair playing field," said Major Lester Hite, who worked with Ballard twice in his career at HPD.
Many younger officers, like Officer Cynthia Sanders consider Ballard a role model who brings out the best in people.
"I've worked for Major Ballard for most of my career and loved every minute of it," said Sanders.
After the turmoil under Chief Louis Kealoha, Ballard's colleagues said she is what Honolulu Police Department needs.
Restoring public trust will not be easy, but Ballard said she is ready to help the department move forward from the Kealoha scandal.
"We're going to put it behind us, we are going to move forward, and we are going to move forward with integrity, we're going to move forward with ethics, and we're going to move forward with collaboration," said Ballard.