HPD suspended reports scandal: 'Some' charges filed in ongoing investigation

New information has been revealed in the ongoing probe of more than a quarter million criminal incidents which were never investigated by the Houston Police Department.

That update came in a two-hour, closed door, "no cameras" conversation between Chief Troy Finner and reporters from across the City.

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(Courtesy of Houston Police Department)

Finner didn't mince words, labeling the case-shelving debacle "a big monster" and the ongoing effort to overhaul the Department, regain public trust and deliver accountability a "marathon, not a sprint."

The Chief offered a trio of significant updates, telling reporters and news managers, the "initial internal investigation" will be complete by the end of April, while also reporting that 67,533 of the 264,000 un-investigated incidents have been re-visited by officers, with an emphasis on sexual assaults, domestic abuse and other crimes of violence.

"We put ourselves in this hole," said Finner.

Finner said "some" charges have been filed as a result of the reviews. Finner also confirmed the resignation of Assistant Chief James Jones and described him as a "witness" in the ongoing investigation.

Assistant Chief James Jones

Assistant Chief James Jones (Photo Source: City of Houston website)

"I didn't start it, but I'm damn sure going to finish it," said Finner, who has stoutly resisted calls for his resignation.

Finner repeated the previous assertion that use of the cryptic code "suspended - lack of personnel" pre-dated his appointment as Chief by at least six years and once he became aware of it in November 2021, he ordered it discontinued.

Pressed by reporters repeatedly on exactly why he didn't follow up more effectively to insure his mandate was followed, Finner responded by saying he counted on command subordinates to get it done.

Finner also confirmed that the day after he discovered the code was in use, Houston was struck by the mass death catastrophe at Astroworld, a disaster which fully absorbed the Department's attention for the weeks and months which followed.

"Not an excuse. No excuses. When you become Chief, you are responsible," said Finner.

As for long term solutions and insuring the case shelving is not repeated, Finner was blunt, insisting the current 5,000 officers policing 2.5 million Houstonians is unsustainable and incapable of investigating every reported crime, especially those without evidence or leads.

"We cannot function at the rate we are now," said Finner, who has called for the addition of 2,000 officers.

Finner said the department will get significant relief when a new records management system is installed next year.