Honolulu Police Commission Hands High Marks To Chief In 2018 Evaluation

Mar 21, 2019

Credit Cory Lum/Civil Beat

Honolulu Police Chief Susan Ballard's job performance exceeded or met expectations last year, according to her first yearly evaluation by the police commission released today.

Ballard won high marks for communication and community relations and in several areas of leadership. She received average grades for budget, fiscal and managerial matters.

In a separate statement on Ballard's performance, Commission Chair Loretta Sheehan and Vice Chair Steven Levinson said Ballard had an "extraordinarily successful first year" as head of the police department and that she is highly respected professionally and personally. 

But they also took the police chief to task for her decisions limiting application approvals for concealed and open carry of handguns.

They said in the statement that the Second Amendment generally guarantees the right to carry handguns, open and concealed, and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in a Hawaiʻi case last year that the state's limiting of open carry of firearms to those protecting life and property violated the Constitution.

They also said they haven't been given answers to questions about the department's rules and regulations on processing applications for open and concealed carry nor have they received data on how many requests have been approved or denied by the chief. The statement also suggests that Ballard's actions could risk a U.S. Supreme Court decision expanding rights to open and concealed carry of handguns, a potential outcome that they said would be "disastrous."

Ballard could not be reached immediately for a response.

Last month, the Honolulu City Council approved a $550,000 settlement with a former police officer who charged Ballard, while a major, tampered with police recruits' test scores. Ballard has denied the allegations and has said there is no factual basis for the charges.

Ballard, the city's first female police chief, took over as head of the department in November 2017. She was promoted following the resignation of her predecessor, Louis Kealoha. He was later indicted with his wife in a federal conspiracy case. Authorities say the couple used police resources to frame a relative for theft of their mailbox, all in an effort to cover up financial fraud.

Honolulu Police Chief Susan Ballard's 2018 Evaluation by HPR News on Scribd