Susan Ballard will be sworn in as the new chief of the Honolulu Police Department on Wednesday, a day after acting Chief Cary Okimoto is set to retire after 33 years in uniform.
Ballard, a major who has overseen six divisions during her 32 years at HPD, was selected last week by the Honolulu Police Commission to be the city’s 11th police chief, the first woman to take helm of HPD in its 85-year history.
Ballard, 60, will succeed Louis Kealoha, who was arrested two weeks ago by federal authorities and indicted on 20 counts of criminal conspiracy, fraud and obstruction of justice.
Kealoha’s city prosecutor wife, Katherine, and four alleged accomplices face the same charges, while a fifth has already pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges.
Okimoto took charge of HPD in an interim capacity in December when Kealoha placed himself on paid leave and ultimately retired after being named as a target of a federal grand jury investigation.
Okimoto first announced his retirement four weeks ago, setting Oct. 31 as his last day at HPD. He later postponed his retirement until the end of November to avoid a leadership vacuum before the new chief could be sworn in.
But Okimoto went back to his original plan Friday, now that Ballard is ready to take charge.
“It has been a privilege to lead the men and women of HPD and to serve the people of Honolulu as the acting chief for the last 10 months,” Okimoto said in a statement. “I want to thank our officers and the community for supporting the department during this time of transition. I ask for your ongoing support as Chief Susan Ballard continues to move the department forward.”
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