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Press Release

New Jersey Assistant U.S. Attorney Mary E. Toscano Among Those Honored by the 68th Annual Attorney General’s Awards

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of New Jersey

NEWARK, N.J. – Attorney General William P. Barr has announced the recipients for the 68th Annual Attorney General’s Awards, recognizing Department of Justice employees and partners for extraordinary contributions to the enforcement of our nation’s laws.

Among the honorees this year is Assistant U.S. Attorney Mary E. Toscano, Deputy Chief of the Criminal Division for the U.S. Attorney’s Office-District of New Jersey (USAO-DNJ). AUSA Toscano is one of 240 DOJ employees who received awards, while 27 non-department individuals are also being honored for their work. This year, due to coronavirus restrictions, Attorney General Barr is honoring recipients virtually.

“I am honored to recognize the recipients of this year’s Attorney General’s Awards, whose tireless work and steadfast dedication have proven critical to enforcing the rule of law and protecting all Americans,” Attorney General Barr said. “Those honored today have demonstrated exceptional efforts and made tremendous personal sacrifices throughout their time working at the Department of Justice, and for that, I am truly thankful.”

AUSA Toscano was one of two winners of the Attorney General’s Award for Excellence in Management, which recognizes outstanding administrative or managerial achievements that have significantly improved operations, productivity, or reduced costs.

In August 2017, the USAO-DNJ initiated a Violent Crime Initiative for the City of Newark in light of a serious and still-developing violent crime problem. AUSA Toscano, then the Chief of the Organized Crime/Gangs Unit, was assigned to get the VCI off the ground and manage and supervise it. She rapidly put together a federal, state and local partnership led by herself; the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office; Newark’s Department of Public Safety; and the FBI, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and Drug Enforcement Administration, with the goal of combatting violent crime in and around Newark. As part of this partnership, federal, state, county, and city agencies collaborate, share intelligence, and pool resources to prosecute violent offenders who endanger the safety of the community. 

AUSA Toscano has led the Newark VCI for over three years, during which Newark has seen a sharp decrease in overall crime and violent crime. Between 2017 and 2018, Newark saw a 30 percent reduction in the number of shooting victim. In 2019, the number of shooting victims and shooting incidents declined another 39 percent compared to 2018. In that same year, the number of murders in Newark reached its lowest level in nearly six decades.

“These successes simply would not have been possible without Ms. Toscano’s close management and careful direction,” U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito said. “The Newark VCI has not only improved community safety, but has strengthened the relationships among federal, state, county and city agencies. As a result of the trust developed among the participants, the Newark VCI has enjoyed not only success with respect to reducing violence, but also in improving relationships among the various stakeholders. Ms. Toscano’s management is key to this success as well.”

For her work on the Newark VCI, AUSA Toscano was honored in October 2019 with a Proclamation from the City of Newark, recognizing her considerable contributions to public safety in Newark. Mayor Ras Baraka’s proclamation stated that the VCI “has had a dramatic impact on crime in Newark,” and credited AUSA Toscano for her work “to make Newark a safer, more empowered, and more equitable City.”

In 2018, U.S. Attorney Carpenito asked Ms. Toscano to stand up a second VCI, this one focusing on Jersey City, New Jersey, which operates in much the same fashion. Ms. Toscano has managed and supervised both VCIs concurrently for over a year – in addition to her other duties as Deputy Chief of the Criminal Division. The results in Jersey City have been equally dramatic.  Violent crime was down 30 percent in Jersey City in 2019, compared to 2018. The goal of the Mayor of Jersey City entering 2019 had been to obtain a 10 percent reduction; the VCI helped far exceed this goal.

AUSA Toscano has been a key advisor in helping her colleagues to establish more recent VCIs in Trenton, Camden, and Paterson, New Jersey. She has trained local police departments in these cities on the operation of the VCI model and has been invaluable as a resource to the AUSAs who are getting these VCIs off the ground.  Her management has been critical to the USAO-DNJ’s efforts to combat violent crime across the entire State of New Jersey.

AUSA Toscano joined the DOJ in 2007 through the DOJ Honors Program, as a Trial Attorney in the Narcotics & Dangerous Drugs Section. She first joined the USAO-DNJ as a Special Assistant U.S. Attorney, before being hired as an AUSA in 2012. She was promoted to Deputy Chief of the General Crimes Unit in 2015; became the Chief of that Unit in 2016; and later became the Chief of the OC/Gangs Unit. She has served as Deputy Chief of the Criminal Division since March 2018. In that capacity, she supervises the OCDETF/Narcotics, OC/Gangs, and Violent Crimes Units, in addition to managing the VCIs in Newark and Jersey City.

The year 2020 marks the 150th anniversary of the Department of Justice.  Learn more about the history of our agency at

Updated November 13, 2020

Office and Personnel Updates
Press Release Number: 20-415