It's what he asked himself when his nephew was killed in 2012 after starting to sell marijuana, and it's what he's asking himself now as the city faces an increase in homicides and violent crime.
"You have a chief now, that I suffered that. My family has been on that front row in the church at a funeral twice, so I understand what they go through, and I want to do everything in my power to make sure we prevent those kind of incidents," Finner told 13 Investigates' Ted Oberg. "I know I was a good uncle to him, but when you become a certain age, everybody has their own choices, and I talk to the kids in the neighborhoods and kids everywhere. ... If you are at the wrong location at the wrong time with the wrong people, you can end up with your life gone, remove any one of those [and] you might can survive."
WATCH: New HPD chief sits down with Ted Oberg to discuss plans to tackle 'criminal system with cracks'
As a native Houstonian who was born in the Fifth Ward and raised on the city's southwest side, Finner said he knows how important it is to build trust within the community and recognize the hardships violent crime has on victims, who sometimes can't even afford a parking fee to visit their loved ones at the hospital.
In addition to advocating for better resources for crime victims, Finner said he'll work with officers to improve relational policing and build trust within the community, despite a shortage of officers.
Still, Finner admits there's work needed when it comes to transparency and reform related to choke holds and no-knock warrants. Whenever he sees flaws with the system, whether it's with judges or other leaders, Finner said he hopes to have productive one-on-one conversations to search for solutions.
"I'm not the one that's going to throw stones at people because if you look at police, can we do some things to improve? Yeah. We can do better on our relationship building because when you look at homicide, the biggest crime fighter we got with homicide, it's all public," Finner said. "They have to trust us and they have to come to us and trust us enough to bring (us the information)."
Finner, who joined Houstonians last summer during the George Floyd protest, said he understands those tens of thousands of people who marched want to be heard and want police officers feel their pain.
"Everybody has a different life experience. Your perception is your reality. My perception is my reality," Finner said. "The way that we build trust (is) I give respect and I give value to that your life experiences and we sit down and we hear one another. Even if we still disagree, it's a way to build bridges."
Even as he takes over as police chief on April 5, Finner said he plans to continue patrolling the streets of Houston in the middle of the night, looking for areas that need more officers, or other gaps in service that could help lower the city's crime rate.
"I want to see with my own eyes," Finner said. "I don't want to lose touch. I know this city. I know every block, especially in the neighborhoods, but I want to see what my officers are up against. I want to see what's going on."
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