Mayor Sylvester Turner, alongside Finner, told reporters Mar. 18 after Chief Art Acevedo announced his departure to serve as chief of the Miami Police Department earlier in the week.
“My goal was to find someone who was fully capable of leading this department from day one who knows the city, its neighborhoods and its people and someone who would work every single day to gain and maintain the trust of our diverse community,” Turner said.
Finner has served in the Houston Police Department since 1990, working in several different divisions and now overseeing field and support operations as well as 15 patrol divisions.
Finner said he appreciated Turner looking within the department for Acevedo's replacement and echoed Turner's remarks about valuing the city's diversity.
"If you are Caucasian, Black whatever you are, you have your own life experiences. People are different, and I don't care if it's their politics or what, you give validation to a person’s experiences,” Finner said.
His tone differed from that of outgoing Acevedo's tone when speaking about criminal justice reform. Acevedo spoke at times heatedly in his farewell speech earlier in the week about his perceived shortcomings of bail reform efforts in Harris County, which he attributed to rising rates of homicide and violent crime.
"When we talk in terms of trust and building relationships ... it's just as important in the criminal justice arena, and it's time everybody takes some responsibility," Finner said. "It's time to stop throwing stones and sit down with each other."
Addressing recommendations from the Mayor's Police Reform Task Force, which the city has fallen behind in implementing under the task force's suggested timeline, Turner said he and Finner are committed to putting most in place.
"We agreed to roll them out, and the mayor is going to call us and order us to roll them out, so we should be seeing something really, really soon here," Finner said.