Susan Ballard, a 32-year veteran of the Honolulu Police Department, became its first female police chief Wednesday, taking over an agency mired in a scandal that deposed her predecessor and cast a cloud over the entire force, reports the city’s Star-Advertiser. Ballard, 60, replaces Louis Kealoha, who retired amid the scandal at the end of February and was indicted on federal corruption charges last week. Ballard, 60, was born in Norfolk, Va., and raised in North Carolina. A Honolulu cop since 1985, she beat out six other finalists, including a retired DEA agent, a Pennsylvania State Police commander, an Arlington, Tex., deputy chief and three others from inside the Honolulu PD.
Acting Mayor Roy K. Amemiya Jr. said Ballard “has a major challenge in restoring public trust” in the department leadership. Last Friday, Kealoha, and his deputy city prosecutor wife, Katherine Kealoha, were arrested on charges that included bank fraud, conspiracy and obstruction stemming from a family fight between Katherine and her uncle. They were released that day on $100,000 bonds. The former chief received a $250,000 severance package, but he must return the money if he is convicted of a felony within six years, according to the terms of the deal.