Houston’s mayor has replaced the city’s police chief, saying Wednesday it was the best thing for a law enforcement agency that’s still under intense scrutiny over why hundreds of thousands of cases were never investigated, including more than 4,000 sexual assault allegations.

Mayor John Whitmire said he did not push out former Police Chief Troy Finner but accepted his retirement as the police department needed to move forward under new leadership.

During a news conference, Whitmire said the ongoing investigation and questions of what Finner knew and when were having a cumulative impact “on the morale in the department, the focus of the officers and the confidence that Houstonians need to have in their police department.”

Whitmire, who took office in January, had expressed confidence in Finner after the chief revealed in February that more than 264,000 incident reports in the past eight years were never submitted for investigation as officers assigned them an internal code that cited a lack of available personnel.

Finner had said he ordered his command staff in a November 2021 meeting to stop using it after learning of its existence. Despite this, he said, he learned on Feb. 7 of this year that it was still being used to dismiss a significant number of adult sexual assault cases.