Finnerty retires from ECSO
“We’re going to be able to fill his position, but we’ll never replace him,” Sheriff Mike Griffis said of longtime employee Mike Finnerty.
Finnerty was recognized by Griffis for 30 years of service to the Ector County Sheriff’s Office during a commissioners’ court meeting Monday.
The sheriff said Finnerty, a former ECSO crime scene investigator, was the epitome of a dedicated employee and took on additional responsibilities to help his team any time they needed it. He was awarded a plaque for his commitment to Ector County and was met with a standing ovation from over 40 people at the meeting.
Daniel Lemley, an ECSO arson investigator, said Finnerty cared about this county and loved what he did. Finnerty also served as the office’s tech guru and assisted with everything from body cam repair to computer programming.
“He’s written some of the programs that we use pretty much from scratch, and that we’re still going to be using for years to come,” Lemley said.
Finnerty even created a user-friendly computer program for the office’s evidence vault.
“We’ve had other agencies, including Midland, come over and see how our computer system works and how we keep our evidence to see if they would want to adopt something like that to make it better,” Lemley said. “They’re always impressed with what we’re able to do with it. We can pull up cases from the 70s and see exactly what’s there.”
Finnerty was described by many as a wealth of knowledge with his vast experience of investigating crimes.
“When he’d go out on a crime scene, we knew it was done right,” Griffis said.
Lemley said he looked upon Finnerty’s experience to guide and shape his own career.
“He actually assisted me into getting into fire investigation,” Lemley said.
He said after speaking with Finnerty he became more interested in arson investigation and gained a mentor.
Griffis shared a story of Finnerty with the audience Monday that highlighted the retiree’s strong work ethic.
“Many times when I was working,” Griffis said, “My camera would malfunction.
“I’d call him up and he’d say come on by. He fixed me up and I’m sure there are other people in the room today that can say the same. He didn’t have to do that stuff, he just volunteered to do it.”
Lemley said that Finnerty was quick to give everyone on patrol his number to assist with any issues.
“After midnight, at 1 a.m. or 2 a.m. they’d call and he’d go out and meet them in the driveway of his house and fix the problem,” Lemley said.
He said that in the current climate, everyone expects there to always be a recording from a body camera, and if it is not there then it is more difficult to prosecute.
“This is the stuff that you don’t get paid for,” Lemley said. “He was just doing it because he wants it to work and the safety issue of it.”
Griffis said Finnerty has been a great friend and a great asset to the people of Ector County and the sheriff’s office.
Lemley said that Finnerty will be celebrating this weekend by going four-wheeling in Ruidoso.