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Honolulu Police Chief Susan Ballard Sworn Into Office

Wayne Yoshioka

Honolulu’s first female Police Chief was sworn into office today at HPD Headquarters. HPR’s Wayne Yoshioka was there and filed this report.  

(Chief Justice Recktenwald)  “Please raise your right hand and repeat after me.  I, Susan Ballard, do solemnly swear…”

Chief Justice Mark Recktenwald administered the oath of office to Police Chief Susan Ballard, the Honolulu Police Department’s 11th Chief.   She joined HPD in 1985, commanded the Kane’ohe and Kalihi Patrol Districts and led the Finance, Training and Central Receiving Divisions.

Credit Wayne Yoshioka
Honolulu Police Commission chair, Max Sword, Commissioner, retired state Supreme Court justice, Steve Levinson, Chief Justice Recktenwald and Commissioner Loretta Sheehan.

“I look forward to moving forward and I’m just really, once again, humbled by all of the support from the officers from Central Receiving, where I was, the command staff, the public.  So I just anna say thanks to everybody and I’m looking forward to working with everyone to make sure HPD is great again.”

Police Chief Ballard’s remarks were brief because she plans to address the department and meet with leaders and staff before any public announcement of her plans.  The selection of a new chief, a $191-thousand a year post, began in January following former Chief Louis Kealoha’s retirement settlement and announcement.  But, Honolulu Police Commissioner, retired state supreme court justice, Steve Levinson, says the commission’s involvement came later in the selection process.

“Realistically, it began when the city finalized the contract with the consultant.  We really weren’t involved in that process at all as commissioners.   We didn’t know who they were until the contract was completed.  So, for all practical purposes, it was going on for the last 2-3 months and once we got going, it went very smoothly and very quickly.”

Honolulu Police Commissioner, Loretta Sheehan, a former city prosecutor and currently an attorney in private practice, expects changes in the department and the commission’s oversight role.

“My personal view is that the Police Commission has to remain a vital voice for the public when it comes to monitoring the Honolulu Police Department.  I’m sure Chief Ballard is gonna do great job.  I’m also sure that Commission has the responsibility to monitor her performance.”

Police Union president, Tanari Ma’afala, says the State of Hawai’I Organization of Police Officers – SHOPO -- supports and stands by the new police chief.

“We just wanted to get a chief in place and we congratulate Chief Ballard going forward and from the union’s perspective, it’s always been a partnership for the greater good.  We might have differences and we have a rule that we all agree by that we might agree to disagree but don’t take it personal.  At the end of the day it’s for the greater good for the officers who are tasked to serve the public.”

Credit Wayne Yoshioka
The Chief's niece, Jennipher Busch, pins the 4-stars on Ballard's uniform.

Meanwhile, Lynn Friend, traveled from Florida to Honolulu for the 5th time in more than 30 years.  This time, to pin the new HPD police chief’s badge on her younger sister’s uniform.

“I don’t even know that she wanted to be a police officer when she was little but it all worked out.  We have other police officers in the family but for her to become police chief, it’s just, I can’t even tell ‘ya, it’s so amazing.”

For HPR News, I’m Wayne Yoshioka.

Wayne Yoshioka
Wayne Yoshioka is an award-winning journalist who has worked in television, print and radio in Hawaiʻi. He also has been on both sides of politics as a state departmental appointee and political/government reporter. He covered Hurricane Iwa (1982) as a TV reporter; was the State Department of Defense/Civil Defense spokesperson for Hurricane Iniki (1992); and, commanded a public affairs detachment in Afghanistan (2006). He has a master's degree in Communication from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa and is a decorated combat veteran (Legion of Merit, Bronze Star and 22 other commendation/service medals). He resides in Honolulu.
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