Houston police chief says all 4,017 adult sex assault cases suspended for ‘lack of personnel’ have been reviewed

Houston Police Chief Troy Finner during a March, 2024 news conference about the department's suspended sexual assault cases scandal. (Copyright 2024 by KPRC Click2Houston - All rights reserved.)

HOUSTONHouston Police Chief Troy Finner says the department has completed the review of 4,017 adult sexual assault incident reports that were suspended due to “lack of personnel” and continue to review the 264,000 department wide incident reports that were suspended.

Finner made the announcement in a statement Thursday providing an update on the review process.

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“Of those, 3,462 have been cleared, suspended or inactivated, mostly due to no additional leads. The remaining reports are being investigated. Any incident will be reopened should a complainant contact us and provide additional information or evidence,” Finner said.

Finner also provided an update on the 95 incident reports with DNA profiles collected that resulted in profile matches (hits) with individuals in the national Combined DNA Index System (CODIS).

Finner said after reviewing those 95 incidents, they learned one of them did not actually involve a CODIS hit.

“Investigators are actively following up on the now updated 94 reports. We have determined that 14 of those hits match profiles of 14 suspects currently incarcerated for separate crimes. Our follow-up investigations are underway on those individuals. CODIS profile matches are evidence, but not necessarily proof an individual committed a crime,” Finner said.

Finner said the department continues to be focused on providing trauma-informed services to sexual assault survivors and prioritizing family violence and crimes against persons reports.

“All 807 incident reports initially located with a family violence nexus have been reviewed, with 551 of them found to fit criteria for being cleared, inactivated or suspended. We are following up on the other 250 incidents to determine how many require follow-up investigations,” Finner said.

In the first eight weeks of the review, Finner says nearly 92,000 of the 264,000 incident reports have been reviewed, which is more than a third of all reports.

“Of those 92,000, we have determined about 1/3 of them (30,000) were properly suspended, but should have used a code other than the lack of personnel. That means one of every three reports we are reviewing were correctly suspended, but with the wrong code,” Finner said.

Finner says so far this review, investigators have had a total of 34 charges filed against 27 suspects. While Finner said most are charged with misdemeanors, some are for violent crimes such as aggravated assault.

“We are learning from any past mistakes in our case management and review protocols and making corrections as this review process continues,” Finner said.

Finner said through the efforts of personnel on-duty and on extra shifts, working seven days a week, the department is reviewing about 10,000 reports per week.

HPD will be a better police department when this review process and follow-up investigations are completed. We cannot rush the review process, but our community should know we are making steady progress,” Finner said.

About the Author

Christian Terry covered digital news in Tyler and Wichita Falls before returning to the Houston area where he grew up. He is passionate about weather and the outdoors and often spends his days off on the water fishing.

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