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Bristol County prosecutor wins Prosecutor of the Year Award



Assistant District Attorney Dennis Collins, the Chief of District Attorney Thomas Quinn III’s Homicide Unit, was recently honored as the 2023 William C. O’Malley Prosecutor of the Year Award. Collins received the award last Thursday night at the Seaport Hotel in Boston during the Massachusetts District Attorneys Association’s Annual Conference.

According to the Bristol County District Attorney’s Office, Collins was promoted to the position of Chief of DA Quinn’s Homicide Unit on the day Quinn first became the district attorney for Bristol County in January 2015. Since that date, the Bristol County District Attorney’s office has a homicide solve rate of higher than 90%, a rate that far exceeds the 54% national average.

Collins has been a prosecutor for approximately 36 years. After graduating from St. John’s Law School, he began his career in the Bronx District Attorney’s Office in 1986, where he served for eight years. He started in the district court then moved up to superior court where he was the on-call prosecutor for police shooting and homicides. While in New York, Collins tried more than 25 cases, including 10 murder trials.

In 1994 Collins moved to Massachusetts and was hired by the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office. He spent several years in the superior court trying gang related cases and then was promoted to the Homicide Unit. For the next 11 years, he investigated police shootings and homicides and tried approximately 50 cases. Collins developed a reputation as a very effective and competent homicide prosecutor who was well respected by his colleagues, law enforcement and the judiciary.

Collins was hired by former District Attorney C. Samuel Sutter as a Bristol County superior court prosecutor in 2008 before being promoted by District Attorney Quinn to head up the office’s Homicide Unit in January 2015.

“It was clear to me that Dennis Collins had the experience and ability to be an effective leader, mentor and to oversee the prosecution of often complex homicide cases. These cases often involve dealing with difficult witnesses, complex issues of proof and can be emotionally charged when dealing with family members who have had a loved one murdered. Dennis has brought a balanced approach to these cases which demonstrates experience, competence and integrity,” District Attorney Quinn said.

While in Bristol County, Collins has tried 27 homicide cases with significant success and has tried seven murder cases since the court resumed trials after the COVID pandemic court shutdowns.

“There are not many prosecutors, if any, in the state who have tried more homicide cases than Dennis Collins. I have not cited specific cases, not because Dennis hasn’t handled significant cases over the course of his career, he clearly has. But simply because he has handled all of his cases with the same professionalism, dedication and compassion that all victims and their families are entitled to,” Quinn added.

The Walter C. O’Malley Award is a lifetime achievement award which recognizes the special talents of a truly outstanding prosecutor which include extraordinary core prosecutorial skills, a gift for mentoring young prosecutors, compassion for victims and dedication to the highest standards of ethics and professionalism.

Collins has been married to his wife Mary, for nearly three decades and has raised two children, both of whom are excelling in their higher education studies in the field of Physics and Computer Engineering.

“Dennis has worked tirelessly for many years to obtain justice for murder victims and their families. This award recognizes his extraordinary efforts on behalf of victims and the communities he serves. We all owe him a debt of gratitude,” District Attorney Quinn concluded.

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