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Honolulu Police Chief Susan Ballard Stepping Down

Honolulu Police Department
Honolulu Police Chief Susan Ballard announces resignation

Honolulu Police Chief Susan Ballard announced Friday she will step down from her role on June 1 and begin her retirement.

This comes after the Honolulu Police Commission gave her negative reviews in a 2020 performance assessment released Wednesday. The commission gave marks of “below expectations” in the overall categories of management and leadership. It highlighted poor communication within the department and called on Ballard to take responsibility when problems arise and not blame individual command staff.

The commission also called on the department to improve its reporting of crime and case closure statistics, its management of overtime, and its communication with the media as well as within the department.

"It has become increasingly clear that I no longer have the trust and support of the police commission and the new mayoral administration," she said in a video message. "This, along with a rampant rumor campaign, has made it next to impossible for me to lead the department effectively."

"For the past 36 years, it has been my privilege to serve alongside the outstanding women and men who are the heart and soul of HPD," Ballard said. "Mahalo to the community for its continued support of the Honolulu Police Department at a time when police departments across the country are faced with increasing challenges."

Mayor Rick Blangiardi said he was disappointed by Ballard's announcement. He said he has been supportive and encouraging of her as chief and did not understand her statement that she no longer had his support and trust.

The mayor said he planned to meet with the police commission as soon as possible to discuss what the city needs in a new chief. While it's up to the commission to make the selection, he said he hoped to have "a very big say.”

“You want a leader with strong communication skills. I need somebody who’s going to be in touch with the times that we’re in," Blangiardi said at a news conference. He said the new chief will need to be someone who will gain the confidence and trust of the department and the community.

Ballard became the chief of police in 2017 and she first joined the department in 1985, according to the Honolulu Police Department.

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Sophia McCullough is a digital news producer. Contact her at news@hawaiipublicradio.org.
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