Meet the Hennepin County Attorney candidate: Ryan Winkler

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Ryan Winkler watched with the rest the world as Minneapolis was seized by civil unrest following George Floyd’s murder. He knew he had to stop it happening again.


Winkler stated that he realized the importance of leadership at the local level to ensure our public safety system works. Our public safety system is unable to communicate with other departments and agencies .”


Winkler said that if he is elected Hennepin County attorney, he will immediately close the gaps between all agencies at all levels of government in the county. Winkler stated that if there was a civil unrest, he would be able help to put it out of his control by having a good relationship and prepared contingency plans.


Winkler (46), is the Majority leader of the DFL-led Minnesota House of Representatives. He believes that this position has given him the ability to coordinate efforts across multiple agencies, even during scenes such as the days following George’s passing. To pursue the office of county attorney, Winkler decided not to run for reelection in Minnesota House. Bemidji native and Golden Valley resident, Winkler believes that his experience allows him to run a large public office such as the Hennepin County Attorney’s office .”


Winkler believes there are some things that are working at the current attorney’s office. Winkler likes the way Mike Freeman, sitting county attorney, places police officers to assist in investigating certain cases such as carjacking.


Winkler stated that there is room for improvement in building trust between the communities and the police departments across the county.


Winkler stated that there is currently a distrust in the office of the county attorney by Hennepin County police departments. This does not necessarily mean that all prosecutors are in the office. This means that there has been a lack in communication and engagement — a loss of confidence in leadership at the county attorney’s offices span>


Winkler’s engagement strategy, which addresses problems with residents, is the same approach that Winkler uses to try and reverse distrust in the county. He stated that he would be present in all communities, regardless of whether they are in the suburbs, on the North Side or with immigrant community. This will include attending community festivals and community meetings, talking to people who are “hearing” and “seeing” what is happening in their neighborhood.


Winkler believes that collaborating with community organizations offering culturally-specific and community-based programs is a way to reduce crime. Winkler stated that such groups can assist the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office in creating programs to support troubled youth by providing mentorship and job training. Winkler wants the attorney’s to invest in diversion programs that support people with mental health issues and chemical dependency issues.


Winkler stated that the key to stopping violent crime waves is to marshal resources and focus on the end of the trend.


Winkler stated that he thinks using limited prosecutorial resources to prosecute cannabis possession or sale is a waste. Winkler said that he is not interested in prosecuting doctors and women if Minnesota’s abortion laws become more restrictive.


Winkler stated that the county attorney should use its resources to investigate violent crimes. Winkler acknowledged that the police force in the county is down officers. Partnership and coordination between jurisdictions is key to reducing street racing. Winkler stated that violent crimes involving firearms are the number one priority.


span style=”font weight: 400 We have to gather tools and target the few law enforcement resources that we have to the greatest needs, which I would consider violent crimes, particularly those involving guns,” Winkler stated.

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