Another HPD commander prepares to leave as search for police chief drags on

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) – There is another major leadership change at the Honolulu Police Department as the search for a new chief drags on and crime is on the rise.

The department’s second-in-command, acting deputy chief Lisa Mann, will retire on June 1.

She is a 32-year veteran of the force, and her departure is the latest in a leadership shakeup that raises questions about the agency’s effectiveness.

Chief Susan Ballard announced she was quitting a year ago, after receiving poor grades from the police board.

Former HPD deputy chiefs John McCarthy and Jonathon Grems also left within months of each other.

And Deputy Chief Allan Nagata also retired last year.

Acting chief Rade Vanic is no longer seeking the permanent position at the top.

All of this means that more changes will occur when the police board finally chooses a chief.

“It takes a long time,” said University of Hawaii criminology professor Meda Chesney-Lind, who criticizes the time the Honolulu Police Commission took just to hire a consultant — six months.

They took months more to narrow the list of candidates from 12 to 8.

Mann’s latest announcement comes as Honolulu is currently experiencing a spike in homicides. In the first four months of this year, there were 13 murders compared to 19 in 2020.

The figure for 2021 has not yet been released.

In 2019 and 2018, a total of 24 murders were reported.

If the current trend continues, Oahu could end up with nearly 40.

Chesney-Lind said stability at the top will help the department focus better on problem areas.

“It takes leadership,” she said, “They have to engage with the community.”

The eight semi-finalists for the position of chief will have another evaluation scheduled for mid-May, and a list of finalists should be announced shortly after.

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Brandon D. James