HPD Chief announces retirement, days after Honolulu Police Commission gave scathing evaluation

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HONOLULU (KHON2) — Honolulu Police Chief Susan Ballard will be stepping down from her position on June 1, after having served in the department for the past 36 years and the last three as Chief.

Ballard made the announcement in a video posted on Friday, April 9.

“The Honolulu Police Commission has been taking a more active role in the running of 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. This along with a rampant rumor campaign has made it next to impossible for me to lead the department effectively, so I believe it is in the best interest in the department and the community that I step aside and allow the commission to find someone who will lead the department that they see fit.”

HPD Chief Susan Ballard

Ballard’s retirement announcement comes days after the Honolulu Police Commission placed her on an improvement plan, demanding that she be more forthcoming, as she faced her third annual evaluation.

The Commission said Ballard fell below expectations in the areas of leadership and managerial skills, adding that she also has a tendency to be dismissive.

Ballard was not present when the Commission released the evaluation.

She released a statement saying, “I don’t believe that this evaluation conveys the views of most officers and professional staff… While I am disappointed, I always say that there is room for improvement and will assess what is the best way to move forward.”

Following Ballard’s resignation speech, SHOPO President Malcolm Lutu released this statement:

It has been an honor serving under Chief Ballard during these unprecedented times of COVID, declining economy, police budget cuts, and the loss of 2 of our own. Our profession is becoming a job that no one wants to do anymore. As hard as this job is, it must have been magnified for her, trying to produce results with the limited resources and the additional duties our officers are tasked with. Hawaii is a unique place along with its people and culture. With social media and politicians taking on a subject that doesn’t present itself here makes our job difficult. If you haven’t walked in our shoes, you would never know how it feels to have naysayers and social media warriors commenting on how to do your job. Chief Ballard has always understood SHOPO’s role and allowed us to discuss our differences freely. We may not have always agreed but there was always a mutual respect between her and the union. I personally have always supported and respected her and her administration. Being Hawaii’s first female chief, I was pulling for her and wanted her to succeed. Her heart has always been for the officers, and I only wish the best. On behalf of SHOPO and all of our officials. I would like to thank Chief Susan Ballard for her service and for her commitment to our city and especially to our officers.

SHOPO President Malcolm Lutu

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