By: Roy Douglas Malonson
All eyes were on Mayor Sylvester Turner this week as he had a tough decision of determining who would fill the role left vacant by Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo, who decided to leave the Bayou City to lead the Miami Police Department. The people were left to wonder, who would be our next ‘top cop’?
Well, the wait is over and, it really was the obvious long overdue choice. Troy Finner is the new chief of police.
“Executive Assistant Chief Finner is highly regarded in the Houston Police Department and has earned the trust and respect of our diverse community. He possesses a style of leadership best described as quiet with a strong demeanor,” said Mayor Turner. “He has never hesitated to lead from the front during major events, civil unrest, and protests. He embraces the use of technology and data-driven analysis in the reduction of crime.”
Acevedo said he was not looking for a new position when he was presented with the offer to serve as chief of police in Miami, but decided to take the opportunity due to the fact that this is Turner’s final term as mayor, ending in January 2024. It is customary for new administrations to bring in their own leadership teams.
Acevedo assured that both of his executive assistant police chiefs — Troy Finner and Matt Slinkard — were great candidates. Both are veteran HPD officers, serving the department for several decades each, and have a camaraderie of true brotherhood. Finner and Slinkard have a close friendship and promised each would be happy if the other got the job.
This city needs healing. We need diversity. And with the racial tension of America front and center in our everyday lives, we need someone who can bridge the gap between the police department and the community.
Most people said from the start, Finner fits the bill.
He’s from Houston. He is a man of the people. And he remains a highly respected force to be reckoned with known to get things done.
Oftentimes when a problem arises, it is common for people in the community to say, “call Troy Finner, he can help.”
From charity projects involving children, being a shoulder to lean on for grieving families and being that “been there, done that” source of inspiration for young Black males, Finner has been the person to answer the toughest calls during the toughest hours.
“What people don’t realize is that I roll around this city by myself at all times of the day and night because I want to get a true picture of what’s out there,” Finner told African-American News&Issues during an interview in April 2020.
The class of ’85 Madison High School graduate was born in Fifth Ward but grew up in Houston’s Hiram Clarke area. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice from Sam Houston State University and a Master of Criminal Justice from the University of Houston-Clear Lake.
One of six children of Leroy Finner Jr. and Nobia Finner, the father of five is “relatable.” Finner lost his oldest sister to Lupus in 2004, and two of his nephews to gun violence.
“I understand the pain of loss. It helps me to understand what families go through,” he expressed.
Last year, when we asked him to share his philosophies about life, he replied, “Just try to help somebody every day. For me, it’s not about my title, it’s about the relationships I have with people. When I came to this department, I came as Troy Finner, and when I leave, I will leave as Troy Finner.”
Now when it comes to the title Finner mentioned, we – along with many members of the community – are happy to now call him Chief Troy Finner.
“I am grateful to Mayor Turner for this opportunity to lead the men and women of the Houston Police Department. I have spent my entire career preparing for this moment, and I will not let down the mayor or the people of Houston,” the new chief said.
His appointment by the mayor will be made official on April 5.
In closing, we leave you with three words – “It’s about time.”