Kimberly P. Yow

Kimberly P. Yow

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Over 260K Houston criminal cases suspended due to ‘lack of personnel’ code, police chief says

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The Houston Police Department suspended over 260,000 criminal cases over the past eight years due to the department’s “lack of personnel” code, Houston Police Chief Troy Finner said on Monday.

Finner initially revealed last week that “lack of personnel” administratively suspended 4,017 cases of alleged sexual assault, but a closer examination by the department identified that the code expanded to all other divisions of the department, Finner said in an update on Monday.

Across the department, about 264,000 incident reports were suspended with the “lack of personnel” code since 2016 – or about 10% of the 2.8 million incident reports filed with the Houston Police Department over the past eight years, Finner said in a statement.

Of the 264,000 reports, the chief said that about 100,000 are property crimes.

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Finner said that police are stepping up efforts to review sexual assault incident reports and contact potential victims and are moving additional personnel to other investigative divisions to address any incident reports involving crimes against another person.

Finner said last week that he first became aware that a lack of manpower was suspending some sexual assault cases in 2021 and had ordered the department to stop using the code, FOX26 Houston reported. It appeared, however, that the code was still used department-wide despite the order, the chief said.

“Am I proud about this? No, I’m angry, okay, because I know we are better, and we are going to make it right, and we will make it right,” Finner told reporters last week, adding that the department is still short of staff.

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Following Monday’s revelation, Houston Mayor John Whitmire expressed his concern about the investigation into the department’s backlogged cases.

“I am very concerned. It is unacceptable, and I have instructed Chief Finner to be transparent and continue his review as a top priority,” the mayor said. “Public safety continues to be my highest priority.”

Finner said he will hold a news briefing on the matter later in the week.

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