Her Gender:
Just One Way She’s a Different Kind of Chief

 

CEO Message


When the search began for a new top cop, Susan Ballard had already turned in her retirement papers after 32 years on the force. Now the former Major is marking her 33rd year at HPD – as Chief.

When the search began for a new top cop, Susan Ballard had already turned in her retirement papers after 32 years on the force. Now the former Major is marking her 33rd year at HPD – as Chief.

 

Leslie Wilcox, PBS Hawai‘i President and CEOAll of Honolulu’s former Police Chiefs had something in common besides being male. They upheld a tradition of reticence in their public statements. Speaking broadly and briefly, they’d usually decline to elaborate, with the explanation that an investigation was ongoing; or that matters were undergoing review. And mostly, what they divulged about their personal lives was basic statistics.

 

Here comes the new Honolulu Police Chief, Susan Ballard. She thinks more transparency is necessary, as the Honolulu Police Department seeks to restore public trust. “Maybe I’m a little T.M.I. (too much information),” she laughs.

 

She has freely shared that she and others were “sidelined” for years during the administration of then-Chief Louis Kealoha for objecting to how the department was being run. Kealoha, with his deputy city prosecutor wife Katherine, is in the crosshairs of a sprawling federal corruption case.

 

In my two-part Long Story Short interview with her this month, Ballard opens up about her formative experiences – growing up “overweight and buck-toothed” in Virginia and North Carolina; being raised with the Southern hospitality principle and Emily Post manners; experiencing domestic violence by a boyfriend with whom she came to Hawai‘i decades ago; her accidental path to HPD; how she reacted during her long tenure to male police officers who didn’t appreciate women on the force; her unusual, short sleep schedule; why she loves Hawai‘i; her decision not to marry; her four “furry babies” – three dogs and a blind cat; and what the Police Department needs now.

 

What you’ll find is that she is an original. She has taken to heart good advice and she’s made good friends, but she didn’t follow anyone else’s footsteps in living her life or managing her career.

 

Get to know Honolulu’s new Police Chief, by joining us for two Long Story Short episodes on Tuesday, August 21, and Tuesday, August 28, at 7:30 pm on PBS Hawai‘i. The programs also will be viewable online, at www.pbshawaii.org/lss/

 

Aloha nui,

Leslie signature