HPD Chief Finner Retires, Mayor Restructures

Houston Police Department Chief Troy Finner | Image by Houston Police Department/Facebook
Houston Police Department Chief Troy Finner | Image by Houston Police Department/Facebook

Houston Police Department Chief Troy Finner has declared his retirement, marking the end of a 31-year career in law enforcement.

Mayor John Whitmire confirmed the announcement in an email obtained by Fox 26 Houston, stating his acceptance of Finner’s decision. In the wake of Finner’s retirement, Mayor Whitmire swiftly appointed Larry Satterwhite as the acting chief of police, effective as of 10:31 p.m. on Tuesday.

Finner’s retirement comes amid several significant developments, including the revelation of an investigation into the handling of 264,000 cases that were suspended and marked with the code “lack of personnel,” as previously reported by The Dallas Express. He said that he had been unaware of the existence and use of this code until 2021, the same year he became the chief of the police department.

However, according to Fox 26, an email chain from 2018 surfaced on Tuesday regarding a case in which a senior officer used the “lack of personnel” code to suspend an investigation despite the existence of leads in the case. At the time, the then-Executive Assistant Chief Finner responded to the email by denouncing the lack of investigation and directing officers to pursue the case diligently.

Addressing the recent controversy, Finner stated on social media that he did not recall the email and clarified that it was part of the internal investigation.

“I have always been truthful and have never set out to mislead anyone about anything, including this investigation,” he said.

He said that although the phrase “suspended lack of personnel” was used in the email, he was not aware that it was an existing code and did not know how it was being used in the department.

Finner maintained that he was unaware of the code’s existence until 2021 and reiterated his commitment to transparency and accountability. He emphasized that his focus has always been on serving the community and upholding the integrity of the Houston Police Department.

Per a previous report from The Dallas Express, Finner recently announced the completion of the Houston Police Department’s internal affairs inquiry into the 264,000 suspended cases. The department’s follow-up on these cases has led to the filing of 54 charges and almost two dozen arrests.

The recent backlog of suspended cases in the Houston Police Department sheds light on similar staffing and resource issues plaguing other law enforcement entities, including the Dallas Police Department (DPD). The department is currently operating with approximately 3,000 officers, despite a city-conducted analysis indicating that around 4,000 officers are needed to effectively reduce response times and adequately ensure public safety in a jurisdiction the size of Dallas.

The chronic shortage of police officers in Dallas has contributed to a backlog of sexual assault cases in the city that dates back to the 1990s.

The Dallas Express reached out to the Houston Police Department and the Houston City Council for comment or insight into the future candidates for HPD police chief, with no response.

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