Houston Officially Has a New Police Chief

Updated 12:05 p.m. April 5 

It’s official: We have a new police chief, y’all.

On Monday, Troy Finner was officially sworn in as the new Houston Police chief by Municipal Courts Presiding Judge Elaine Marshall. This is an important day, said Mayor Sylvester Turner to the crowd at Houston City Hall. “Even though we have the masks on, we can still radiate through our eyes.” Finner, a Houston native and 31-year veteran of HPD, was appointed by Turner last month, just days after former chief Art Acevedo announced he was leaving to take up the Miami police chief mantle.

Finner, who will be the head of Houston’s 5,300-strong police department, was unanimously approved by City Council on March 24.

“I have to be the most blessed man in this world right now,” Finner said after his 10-year-old son, Wyatt, pinned his official badge to his uniform. Finner’s parents, older children, and wife, Sherrian, stood behind him as he gave a short address, asking the public to work with him, thanking the Houston Police, and promising to listen to the community.

“It’s time to go to work,” he said. “And that’s what I intend to do.” 

Published 4:43 p.m. March 18

Well, Houston, we have a new police chief and we won’t have to wait too long because he’s already here.

Thursday afternoon Mayor Sylvester Turner named 31-year Houston police veteran Troy Finner as the city’s replacement for Art Acevedo, who announced he was leaving for Miami Sunday night.

All week long Turner said he’s been searching for someone from inside HPD’s 5,300-strong ranks to fill Acevedo’s shoes and capably lead the department “from day one.” Although, he joked about just appointing himself, Turner instead named Finner as the best suited to fill one of the most visible positions in the city (it appears that Finner realizes he may have to step up his Twitter game).

The mayor and Finner’s longtime HPD partner, executive assistant chief Matt Slinkard, praised his integrity and leadership. “He has earned the trust and respect of people in every corner of our diverse community,” the mayor said.

Plus, he’s a local.

“Troy Finner is not just from Houston,” Turner said. “He is Houston.”

Finner was born in the Fifth Ward and grew up in the Hiram Clarke area. He graduated from James Madison High School in 1985,  attended Sam Houston State University, and received a master’s degree from University of Houston-Clear Lake.  He’s been with HPD since 1990, serving in various positions over the years, including in the Office of Public Affairs and the Internal Affairs Division. Most recently, he’s been one of its executive assistant chiefs.

Of course, Finner is not technically police chief yet—his appointment is subject to City Council approval, which could come as early as next Wednesday. At that time, Council will also vote to officially make Slinkard Finner’s No. 2 as executive assistant chief, but that requires a change to the city’s Master Job Classification Ordinance, according to Turner.

Finner is inheriting somewhat of a sticky situation. Houston has one of the highest crime rates in the country, plus ongoing lawsuits from a botched drug raid in 2019 that ended in the deaths a southeast Houston couple and one of their dogs.

Violent crime, which is up because of the pandemic, and the pandemic itself will be  his biggest challenges and top priorities, said Finner, along with building relationships with the community. Still, he believes he’s up for the task.

“I’m ready,” he said, as is the rest of HPD. “We’re ready to move forward.”

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