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Troy Finner retires as HPD chief, mayor’s email to police staffers says

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) — Troy Finner, the city of Houston’s chief of police for the last three years, has retired amid questions about whether he was aware of a code that suspended more than 260,000 cases years sooner than the timeline he gave to the public.

Eyewitness News obtained an email by Mayor John Whitmire sent late Tuesday night to Houston Police Department employees, informing them of the change at the top. Executive Assistant Chief Larry Satterwhite will serve as acting police chief, as stated in the email.

In March 2021, former Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner handpicked Finner to take over the department in America’s fourth-largest city, overseeing more than 5,300 officers and another 1,200 civilian support staff, according to HPD’s website.

Finner’s stint crossed over into John Whitmire’s mayoral administration that began this year. By month two of the former state senator’s time in office, the chief revealed thousands of sexual assault investigations were suspended due to lack of personnel, which was attached with “SL” coding.

In the weeks following the mid-February revelation, Finner announced the true scope of the suspended cases which involved more than 264,000 investigations suspended since 2016 due to a lack of personnel.

SEE MORE: HPD says over 81K reports reviewed of the 264K cases suspended due to lack of personnel

While Art Acevedo served as chief at the beginning of that timeline, ABC13 pressed Finner about when he became aware of the cases and his actions to resolve the unsolved.

Hours before Finner’s dismissal was revealed to HPD staffers, 13 Investigates reported about a 2018 email that called into question when Finner first heard a case was suspended.

During a March 7 news conference, Finner told reporters he was first aware of the code in November 2021 and ordered his leaders never to use it again. But, an email 13 Investigates obtained shows he knew of the code being used at least once in 2018.

The July 20, 2018, email was addressed to several high-ranking HPD leaders, including Acevedo and Finner, who was an executive assistant chief back then.

The email mentions a specific road rage case marked “Suspended-Lack of Personnel.” It details that the case was labeled that way, even though a witness identified a suspect.

Finner responds to the email, saying, “This is unacceptable, look into it and follow up with me.”

The email does not flag issues with the suspended code or address how often it is used.

After the report, Finner released a statement, insisting he had no recollection of the email until Tuesday.

The email to staffers Tuesday night doesn’t go into specifics for the chief’s dismissal.

As of late Tuesday, Finner and Mayor Whitmire have yet to give statements after the leadership change.

Any victims whose contact information has changed since the time of their report can call (713) 308-1180 or email specialvictimsreport@houstonpolice.org.

This story comes from our news partner ABC13 Houston.