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HPD begins new era with Chief Ballard

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Honolulu Police Chief Susan Ballard is sworn in today by Chief Justice Mark E. Recktenwald at the police department’s headquarters on South Beretania Street.

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Honolulu Police Chief Susan Ballard, left, during her swearing-in ceremony today. At right, Ballard’s signed oath of office.

A new era for the Honolulu Police Department began this morning with the swearing in ceremony for its 11th chief, Susan Ballard, who replaced recently indicted former Chief Louis Kealoha.

Following a swearing-in ceremony administered by Hawaii Supreme Court Chief Justice Mark Rectenwald in the command room at police headquarters, Ballard said in brief comments that, “I’m looking forward to working with everyone and moving forward and making sure that HPD is great again.”

Ballard swore that she would faithfully support the constitution and laws of the United States of America; the constitution and laws of the state of Hawaii; and the charter and laws of the City and County of Honolulu.

After being sworn in, Ballard pumped her fist, then signed her oath of office. It took longer for Ballard to get her new stars pinned on her epaulettes than to take the oath of office.

Rank-and-file officers in attendance cheered their new chief as Mayor Kirk Caldwell, other city officials and members of the Honolulu Police Commission looked on.

HPD spokeswoman Sarah Yoro said Ballard wants to speak to officers before granting any media interviews.

Ballard, the first female police chief in the state, replaces recently indicted Kealoha, who retired effective March 1.

Kealoha had placed himself on paid administrative leave after being informed by federal officials he was the target of a criminal investigation.

Ballard, 60, was born in Virginia and raised in North Carolina and has a master of arts degree in health and physical education from Tennessee Technical University.

She was selected unanimously by four members of the Honolulu Police Commission from among seven finalists Oct. 25.

A 32-year HPD veteran, Ballard has led five divisions since becoming a major in 2001: the Windward and Kalihi patrol divisions, and central receiving, training, and finance.

The chief’s job pays $191,184 annually, the second-­highest-paying job in city government next to the medical examiner.

Ballard applied for the job twice previously, and was one of four finalists when Boisse Correa — who attended this morning’s ceremony — was chosen in 2004.

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