Hennepin County brings in new deputy county attorney to oversee criminal division
Exactly one month ago, Mark Osler moved into his new job as Deputy Hennepin County Attorney, after teaching for many years at the University of St. Thomas School of Law.
“I left my dream job for a year, to come here,” Osler said in his first interview since leading a team of around 150 criminal prosecutors. “I realized it was an opportunity that gave me the chance to make a difference.”
Osler, a former federal prosecutor with the Department of Justice in Detroit, received a call from Hennepin County Attorney Mary Moriarty to take over the position for the next year.
Osler sat down with 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS to discuss his vision for the criminal division.
“People who are intentional about what we do, we’re just not going to follow traditional practices, and there is not going to be a laziness about the way we approach it, it’s going to be an approach to public safety that takes seriously the victimization of people in the community and also looks to solve problems systemically,” Osler said.
Osler said the County Attorney’s Office is focusing resources on the spike in stolen cars in Hennepin County, and how to address prosecutions to put a dent in the crime.
“A relatively small group of people that are committing a large number of thefts, that’s something we have to take seriously,” Osler said.
The Hennepin County Attorney’s Office recently has been working with federal authorities in the U.S. Attorney’s Office to tackle certain crimes together, like carjacking.
“One thing that’s happening with this office is we’re increasing our cooperation with the federal authorities,” Osler said. “I think you are going to see more joint investigations — more cases where people are charged both federally and in state.”
The County Attorney’s Office is working on new efforts to focus on training and developing staff and prosecutors.
Earlier this week, County Attorney Moriarty released her new strategic guide for the office’s direction.
The vision Moriarty wants for the County Attorney’s Office is “A safe, equitable, and just Hennepin County.”
At this point, Osler says his plan is to stay in the position for the next 11 months, before returning to campus.