Houston Police Chief Retires After Being Questioned About 260000 Suspended Investigations

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According to the mayor’s office, Houston’s police chief abruptly left the force on Tuesday night in response to concerns over a departmental policy that permitted the suspension of hundreds of thousands of investigations, including instances involving sexual assault.

Troy Finner completed a 34-year career with the Houston Police Department by being appointed chief in 2021.

Troy Finner is a friend of mine. In an unexpected press conference on Wednesday, Houston Mayor John Whitmire stated, “It was difficult to accept his retirement, but it was in the best interest of Houstonians.”

The news of Finner’s retirement was made hours after an internal email, seen by CNN affiliate KHOU, was leaked. In 2018, Finner made reference to an inquiry being halted because of “lack of personnel,” which was three years prior to his declaration that he was aware of the policy.

At the time the email was sent, Finner served as executive assistant chief over patrol operations.

Finner stated at a press conference in February that he was unaware of the practice until 2021, the year he was appointed chief, and that is when he gave the department’s Special Victims Division the order to cease suspending investigations under the pretext of “lack of personnel.”

In April, Finner stated that the police force had made headway in examining over 264,000 inquiries that had been put on hold since 2016, with the sole reason given being a staffing shortage. Allegations of adult sex offences were made in almost 4,000 of the cases. A separate review body is conducting its own investigation.

Finner stated, “I have always been truthful and have never set out to mislead anyone about anything, including this investigation,” in a statement released Tuesday night following the airing of the KHOU report.

Despite being stated in the email, the departing chief said he was unaware of the “suspended lack of personnel” codes that Houston police were using at the time.

In his statement, Finner said he would “address the media and the public” after the inquiry was over. Later same evening, the mayor announced Finner’s retirement to the city council.

Whitmire named Larry Satterwhite acting chief of police on Wednesday. Under Finner, Satterwhite was the chief executive assistant. Regarding whether he had requested Finner’s retirement, the mayor remained silent.

“It was affecting operations at HPD. That’s the bottom line,” Whitmire told reporters Wednesday. “I dealt with it because it was a distraction to the mission of the men and women in HPD.”

Finner did not reply to CNN’s request for comment right away.

The police department has not formally declared the change in command as of Wednesday afternoon.

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