After largely disappearing from public view, HPD chief quietly ends 35 years of public service

Monday marked Chief Susan Ballard’s final day with the Honolulu Police Department after more than three decades of service.
Published: May. 31, 2021 at 5:12 PM HST|Updated: May. 31, 2021 at 5:23 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Monday marked Chief Susan Ballard’s final day with the Honolulu Police Department after more than three decades of service.

Her departure was anything but planned well in advance.

In April, two days after receiving low marks on an annual performance review ― in the areas of leadership and communication ― Ballard released a video to say she was stepping down.

Since then, she’s all but disappeared from public view.

“Basically what the police commission was telling our community is you can’t have any confidence in the chief of police right now and she needs to be put on a performance plan,” said attorney Megan Kau. “In response, Chief Ballard said well if that’s what you’re going to do I’m just going to leave.”

Since Ballard’s announcement April 9, records show she has missed close to two weeks of work including seven full sick days, two partial sick days and one vacation day.

She also hasn’t attended any police commission meetings since getting the results of her review.

In a statement, an HPD spokesperson said that the chief “has undergone two medical procedures, one of which has taken a longer time to recover from than expected.”

It went on to say:

“(Ballard) has been working to transition Assistant Chief Vanic into his new role as Interim Chief of Police, allowing him to take on a more prominent role in decision making and representing the department while she was still in office.”

In a phone interview, Police Commission Chair Shannon Alivado recognized Ballard’s 35 years of service to the community. “We want to thank her for making it a smooth transition, ensuring that the department is in good hands going forward,” Alivado said.

She said she had hoped to see more of the chief in her final days with the department but understands why it wasn’t that way.

“She has been in touch with the commission as far as when she is going to be out and we as a commission respect her request for leave because we know it’s a personal leave request,” she said.

On Wednesday, the police commission plans to recognize Ballard’s service with a resolution before focusing fully on finding HPD’s next chief.

Kau said she’s hopeful the commission “is going to find somebody that’s strong enough to lead our community and bring safety to Honolulu but is compassionate enough to be able to work with police officers and to be able to work with the union.”

Candidates have until June 30 to submit their applications.

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