‘No more excuses’: HPD chief believes increasing jail capacity could be a potential solution for rising crime in Houston

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HOUSTON – Houston Police Chief Finner Troy Finner did not hold back Thursday night while talking about violent criminals in the city.

“These violent individuals, I’m damn tired of it. We need to stand up as a community and do whatever we got to do. If that is to have more jail capacity, let’s get it done. No more excuses,” said Finner hours after three HPD officers were shot.

On Friday, Houston area congressional representatives from both sides of the aisle took notice.

“I might not say it in those exact words, but the meaning, I embrace totally and completely,” said U.S. Representative Al Green.

His colleague from across the aisle, U. S. Representative Dan Crenshaw, also spoke with KPRC 2 investigates about the challenges he sees.

“Jail capacity is one of the problems, but the real problem is keeping the people in jail who need to be in jail,” said Crenshaw.

Harris County officials have a different view on criminal justice reforms.

Judge Lina Hidalgo is one of them.

We asked Hidalgo if she agrees with more jail capacity and she said, “We are looking at all the different options. Everything that can solve and help solve this crisis is on the table.”

When KPRC 2 Investigates asked Hidalgo if more jail capacity is on the table right now? Hidalgo said, “This is the first I hear of it Mario, I don’t want to twist whatever comment Chief Finner made.”

Crenshaw and Green said there is no refuting the facts. Houston’s violent crimes crisis is in a place like never before.

”Being the number one murder capital in the U.S, that should be a pretty big wake-up call to Houston,” said Crenshaw, in reference to Houston starting the week leading New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago and Philadelphia for the most homicides in 2022.

Green, whose family has ties to law enforcement, feels city and county leaders need to wake up as the clock is ticking.

“I think we are still at a point where we can do something about it. But if we don’t, it can become unmanageable, and God forbid that would happen,” said Green.

Tomaro Bell, the chair of the committee, focused on public safety for the Super Neighborhood Alliance and said Finner’s comments are resonating with the alliance and its members.

“They’re happy because they feel the same way. Whatever it takes. More jails, bail reform, whatever it takes so that they will stay in there, that is what they need to do,” said Bell.

Doug Griffith, the head of HPD’s Union said Chief Finner’s comments are refreshing.

They also highlight a problem with Harris County’s judicial system that Griffith says county officials will not own up to.

“The county is not going to admit that they have completely screwed over Harris County,” said Griffith.

We did reach out for additional comment to the office of County Commissioner Rodney Ellis in response to Finner’s statements. Commissioner Ellis, who is considered the architect of bail reform in Harris County, did not respond.

Mayor Sylvester Turner’s office said, “Chief’s Finner’s remarks speak for themselves.” They also added that the mayor will unveil his crime reduction plan next week.

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