Mayor Whitmire on HPD not investigating sexual assault cases: ‘We need to hold people accountable’

New Mayor expects a full report and transparency from HPD Chief Troy Finner over “years and years” of cases being suspended.

HOUSTON – Since announcing on X last Friday that a “significant number” of sexual assault investigations within the Houston Police Department had been suspended because of a “lack of personnel,” HPD Chief Troy Finner has remained silent.

But on Wednesday his boss, Mayor John Whitmire, started talking.

“It is alarming,” The new mayor said following city council.

The exact number of investigations in sexual assault cases being suspended is unknown, but HPD’s Union (HPOU) told KPRC 2 Investigates on Monday that they believe the number of cases that have been suspended since 2021 is upwards of 2000,

“We need to get to the bottom of this. We need to hold people accountable,” said Whitmire.

When asked how does this happen?

The mayor paused and thought about his response, “I’m not sure, that’s not an easy, that is the reason the chief is reviewing it. How did it happen? And it didn’t happen in the last six months, it’s been going on for years and years,” said Whitmire.

On Tuesday, KPRC 2 Investigates spoke with multiple members of law enforcement concerning the bombshell announced by Finner. Two former detectives as well as a former chief in the New York Police Department, who has been involved in some of New York City’s biggest cases -- including sexual assaults -- were dismayed as to how sex assault case investigations were “suspended” within HPD. The former NYPD Chief said, “this is the most disturbing thing I’ve heard in my all of my years of law enforcement!”

The former chief also added, “not working sexual assault cases for victims is disastrous.”

Public Safety are the two words Houstonians heard the most from Whitmire before being overwhelmingly voted into office this past December,

“It goes right along with my concern during the campaign about public safety, and the previous administration and others said, ‘Oh we’re headed in the right direction, we’re doing fine.’ Well, hell I guess so if you’re not reporting stuff or you’re not investigating them,” said Whitmire.

Whitmire revealed that he expects full transparency from Chief Finner during Thursday’s news conference at HPD Headquarters and not only does he want full accountability from Finner, but he says he will be holding people accountable over all of this.

The mayor was the only elected official who commented on HPD’s suspension of sexual assault investigations. No council member, many of whom are women, brought up the controversy impacting the department as well as the families and victims involved in these cases.

KPRC 2 Investigates will have complete coverage of Thursday’s news conference on air and on the KPRC 2 App.

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