Local Connection: New Police Chief

Our troubled police commission can be congratulated for its unanimous selection of Major Susan Ballard as chief.

The four commissioners involved in the vote had to put aside past acrimony to collaborate on the choice because all four needed to agree to make the selection official.

Fortunately, Major Ballard emerged quickly as the right choice for a number of reasons, even though she was competing with six other highly qualified candidates.

Ballard's selection was embraced by many rank and file officers because she was known for being independent and critical of the "good-ole-boy" mentality that thrived under former chief Kealoha.

She openly criticized favoritism in promotions and discipline under Kealoha's administration and paid a price — stuck at the rank of major while less qualified officers were promoted into the chief's office.

It seems the commissioners wanted to do more than replace Kealoha. They wanted an entirely new style of leader. They were also concerned about the disruption and damage to morale that might come from an outsider being appointed.

By choosing Major Ballard, the department can look forward to both stability — so they can do their jobs without distraction — and change that will address the many challenges ahead.

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