HPD chief’s decision to resign caught police commission by surprise

HPD chief’s decision to resign caught police commission by surprise

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Honolulu Police Chief Susan Ballard’s resignation caught many by surprise, including the police commission.

The body said they were willing to work with her following a negative performance review.

But Ballard said she didn’t she it that way.

“It is becoming increasingly clear that I no longer have the trust and support of the commission and new mayoral administration,” said Ballard, in a video posted online Friday.

Management of administration and leadership were key areas in the evaluation that the Honolulu Police Commission saw Ballard lacking in the last year.

Shannon Alivado, chair of the police commission, said they were committed to working with Ballard and wanted to see her succeed.

“And so, we thought this would be an opportunity to point those things out to her and work with her to improve them before it’s too late,” said Alivado.

“And there’s not enough time to correct some of these areas.”

State of Hawaii Organization of Police Officers President Malcolm Lutu said as chief, Ballard resonated well with officers.

“She put us on the right path when negotiations were going on,” said Lutu. “She knew our officers’ needs.”

Ballard’s poor reviews only came within the last year, when the state was battling a pandemic, protests, and higher crime rates.

“The overtime issue, the homeless issue, the COVID, the number of tags issued during that time period I think it was 60,000 at last count became probably daunting for her,” said Tommy Aiu, former Federal & Law Enforcement agent.

“And caused the change of the way she addressed the public, the way she addressed the media all those things became pretty evident, and I think the police commission took notice of that and addressed it within her last appraisal.”

Her resignation comes at the end of a difficult week for the department. On Monday, an officer shot and killed a teen accused of committing a string of violent crimes.

Ballard provided little details in the aftermath and had recently developed a pattern of not answering questions publicly.

“Chief Ballard has given up a lot over 35 years of her life to the Honolulu Police Department as a public servant,” said Alivado. “So that needs to be recognized, and we need to give her that credit and she understands that Honolulu thanks her for her service.”

“She’s been through a lot,” said Lutu. “A lot of different stuff that no other chief has been through.”

Alivado said the police commission will have to get to work right away in filling the chief of police position. They are working to set up a meeting next week.

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