Houston PD Has Suspended 260K Criminal Cases Since 2016 Over ‘Lack Of Personnel,’ Chief Reveals

The suspensions include over 4,000 sex assault cases
HOUSTON, TEXAS - JANUARY 25: Houston Police Chief Troy Finner announces a new body camera policy on Thursday, Jan. 25, 2024.
John Wayne Ferguson/Houston Chronicle via Getty Images

Around 264,000 criminal cases, including more than 4,000 sex assault cases, have been suspended by the Houston Police Department (HPD) since 2016, citing a “lack of personnel” code, according to Houston Police Chief Troy Finner.

Finner announced on Monday that an in-depth review of the department’s use of the “lack of personnel” code over the past eight years revealed it had suspended around 10% of the 2.8 million incident reports that were filed, the Houston Chronicle reported. The Houston Police Department first revealed last week that just over 4,000 cases of alleged sexual assault had been suspended over “lack of personnel,” which sparked a closer look at how the code was used throughout all divisions of the police department.

The police chief voiced his frustration at his department suspending sex assault cases last week, saying that the code should have never existed, but was developed around ten years ago to label reports “suspended due to a lack of personnel.” Finner said he first became aware of the code being used in 2021, and he ordered his department to stop using it to suspend cases. Finner added that an investigation is underway to look into why his order was disobeyed.

“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 said, according to Fox 26 Houston. “We are still short of staff and some people say 2,000 officers, so we do the best that we can do, but that’s not good enough when we are not investigating sexual assaults.”

The HPD also released a statement on Monday, going over its findings on the “lack of personnel code” use. Of the 264,000 suspended cases, around 100,000 of them involved property crimes, according to the police department. The Houston PD added that it will focus on reviewing sexual assault reports.

“Our efforts to review sexual assault incident reports and contact potential victims continue,” the statement said. “We are also moving additional personnel to other investigative divisions to address these incident reports involving crimes against persons.”

Houston Mayor John Whitmire said the suspended cases are “unacceptable.”

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


Houston is the largest city in Texas and the fourth largest city in the nation. Like many cities across the country, Houston has grappled with police staffing shortages over the past few years.

As of April of last year, the HPD was down 342 officers compared to 25 years ago even as the city’s population grew over the same time period, increasing from 1.9 million in 2000 to 2.3 million by 2021. The city’s resident-to-officer ratio has gone up from 334 residents per officer 25 years ago to 461 residents per officer as of last year, according to the Houston Chronicle.

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The Daily Wire   >  Read   >  Houston PD Has Suspended 260K Criminal Cases Since 2016 Over ‘Lack Of Personnel,’ Chief Reveals