Police commission pledges plenty of sunshine in process for picking new HPD chief

It has been six months since Susan Ballard announced that she was retiring as Honolulu’s police chief.
Published: Oct. 19, 2021 at 4:31 PM HST|Updated: Oct. 19, 2021 at 5:24 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - It has been six months since Susan Ballard announced that she was retiring as Honolulu’s police chief.

And the Honolulu Police Commission is still struggling to name her replacement.

There have been multiple delays in the hiring process. The panel is still working to hire a consulting company to help narrow down the list of candidates.

Commissioners have also said they want to involve the public more than in past years, but details on how they’ll make that happen are not clear.

“The commission is looking at all options at this point,” said Shannon Alivado, Honolulu Police Commission chair.

“We do want to have interaction, I believe, between chief candidates and the public.”

When Ballard was selected in 2017, the interview process was done in executive session, hidden from the public.

Alivado said she did see the Maui Police Commission’s Oct. 1 interviews of all the finalists for MPD’s chief. The nearly four-hour session was shown live online and was also later posted on the city’s website for viewing.

The video allowed the public to hear the answers of the five finalists as Maui Police Commission Chair Frank De Rego, Jr. asked 15 questions of each.

Advocates for more transparency said Honolulu’s panel should offer a similar process.

“I hope they will take a look at what the Maui police commission has done, the example they’ve set,” said Joshua Wisch, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Hawaii.

Wisch said Honolulu residents should be afforded the same opportunity to hear how finalists respond to questions, especially those regarding social justice, excessive force and racial profiling.

“This is actually a really great opportunity now for the police commission to model for the police department how it can be better on transparency,” Wisch said.

Alivado said the format for the interviews is still a topic of discussion.

“We look forward to firming those details,” she said.

The Honolulu Police Commission meets again Wednesday and will update the status of the consultant.

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