Although she was born in Virginia, Ballard was raised in North Carolina.
In 1982, she moved to Hawaii. Three years later in 1985, she joined the force and has been a respected woman in blue ever since.
For 32 years, she worked her way up to the rank of Major, and has held multiple leadership roles within the department. She's been in charge of the Kaneohe and Kalihi Districts, the Finance Division, training and is currently the commander for Receiving.
Ballard has applied for the police chief position twice before, striking gold on the third time around.
"I think most of the officers have worked with me at some point in time," Ballard said. "I think any of them that you talk to will pretty much tell you that I haven't really changed since I was a footman (foot officer)."
"My personality has stayed the same, the way that I approach problems, the way I approach people is pretty much the same and hasn't changed. I'm going to continue doing that, supporting the officers, supporting the department and also supporting the community," she added.
At 60-years-old, she enters a role that comes with a $191,000 a year salary — more than any other public position except the medical examiner.
Commissioners said her readiness to do the job and strong outlook for the department is what put her above the rest.
And although Ballard will be the first woman to fill the position, commissioners said gender was among the least important factors in making the selection.