The Police commissioner asked Chief Susan Ballard what the HPD is doing to ensure what happened with former Police Chief Louis Kealoha doesn’t happen again.
Ballard said the HPD can’t take all the blame, part of the fault falls on the commission. Ballard also addressed her disapproval with the $250,000 the city paid Kealoha as part of his severance package, a deal the commission approved back in 2017.
Police commissioner Loretta Sheehan began their monthly meeting by saying she wanted to address the elephant in the room. That being, how HPD intends to prevent future scandals and corruption in its department.
“I really don’t want to go down that road but since you asked, I will,” Ballard responded. “I don’t believe it started with HPD. I think HPD has a portion of this, but I think this does go all the way back to the commission.”
Ballard said there were countless opportunities for the commission to address the problems but they didn’t.
“(HPD) came forward many, many different occasions. We went to the ethics commission and that was shut down. We wrote letters they were ignored. I myself brought it up to my assistant chief and was told basically to shut up. There were a lot of things that were going on that should have happened. This was just a perfect storm because you had two people who had no ethics allegedly had no ethics,” Ballard explained.
Ballard admitted that HPD was against the Kealoha payout deal.
“When we we were asked should we settle for $250,000? HPD expressly said no, and we were ignored. Number two, we also expressly said he should not have been allowed to retire in good standing. Once again the commission overwrote HPD, so there’s a lot of areas that need to be examined.”
Ballard made it clear that HPD is now under new leadership, moving in a new direction.
Sheehan commended her honesty and pledged to foster open communication. And says that the commission has already begun doing things differently.
“This conversation would never have happened with former police commission. I can guarantee that it wouldn’t have happened with the former administration. I think this conversation is extraordinarily important for the public to understand,” Sheehan said.