Rice County Assistant Attorney Declares Candidacy for Top Post
"The Rice County Attorney's office must practice with Honesty, Integrity, and Respect, the people of Rice County expect it and they deserve it. As County Attorney, I pledge the County Attorney's Office will treat all individuals, whether defendant, victim, witness, or law enforcement officer, with dignity and respect. I will ensure that victims' rights are protected, their voices are heard, and their cases are properly prosecuted. And I will work to repair the strained relationship between the County Attorney's Office and local law enforcement," states Mortenson.
The News Release goes on to say that Mortenson began his legal career in Florida as an Assistant State Attorney where he worked closely with local law enforcement, defense attorneys, and colleagues fostering powerful working relationships.
He goes on to say when he accepted a position as an Assistant Rice County Attorney in 2016 he moved his family to "the Rice County community."
He cites working closely with the Cannon River Drug and Violent Offender Task Force and says he has handled some of "Rice County's largest drug prosecutions over the last five years. From 2016 to March of 2020 he served on the Rice County Treatment Court.
Mortenson concludes the News Release reporting his candidacy by saying, "My priorities for the County Attorney's Office including providing effective representation of the county in the courtroom and the community, serving the county with greater efficiency, including being a better steward of Rice County Resources and tax dollars, and creating an office atmosphere of collaboration and team success to hekp retain quality attorneys."
I asked Faribault Police Chief Andy Bohlen if there has been a "strained relationship between the County Attorney's Office and local law enforcement."
He replied, "I would say I would like to see more cooperation with the attorneys working with officers. Building good cases. If there's things we can learn on, let's work together and meet and talk about how to strengthen those cases but I'd like to see that stronger."
Bohlen told KDHL AM Minnesota listeners Mortenson has, "Done a good job with our drug task force and he's been kind of a sounding board for our agents. He's also been one of those attorneys that you know if we have a young officer struggling with how to put together a good DUI case or a good traffic stop, we've often times used him to kind of train that officer."
"I know Brian has indicated his interest in running. I think he's talented. He indicated to me if he (won the office) he'd bring back some long needed training. We used to have more training under former County Attorney Paul Beaumaster. We've had a litte bit under the current County Attorney but it would be nice to bring some of that back because we're always in need of training."
Bohlen added, "It would be nice to retain some more attorneys over there, we've lost a lot of good attorneys over there. Brian has indicated he would transparent, serve victims. Even my cops sometimes have been victims. You know officers don't like to be assaulted and we've had several of those cases. He's indicated he would be tough on those which is important to my police officers because they look at that."
I contacted current Rice County Attorney John Fossum about the comments from Mortenson and Bohlen.
Fossum appreciated the call but did not want to comment at this time saying if it comes up he will address the concerns during the campaign.
Official filing for candidacy, assuming redistricting is completed will be May 17, 2022 through May 31, 2022 until 5:00 p.m. for all Rice County and City of Northfield, Faribault and Lonsdale elected offices.
Who doesn't like food?
LOOK: Food history from the year you were born
This kind of ties in with criminal and prosecuting attorneys.