Attorney General Knudsen Announces Additional K9 Grant Awards to Fight Drug Trafficking in Montana
Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen today announced the final round of grant awards that will help local law enforcement agencies obtain and train new canine units to crack down on illegal drugs being trafficked into Montana. Following the 18 initial $10,000 grants approved by the selection committee in October, five new agencies will receive funding and 14 will receive additional funding.
Twenty-three agencies have now been approved to receive a total of $300,000 in grant funding through this program. All of the funds appropriated by the legislature for this purpose have now been dispersed.
“Montana is being flooded with dangerous drugs like fentanyl and methamphetamine that come across the southern border. After their training is completed, these K9s will be an asset in helping law enforcement keep our communities safe by keeping drugs off the streets,” Attorney General Knudsen said.
Announced in August, the grant program reflects Attorney General Knudsen’s commitment to getting resources out of Helena and into the hands of local first responders and law enforcement.
The following new applications for grants have been approved:
- Fort Peck Tribal Police Department – $13,000
- Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office – $14,000
- Montana Highway Patrol – $20,000 (two canines)
- Roosevelt County Sheriff’s Office – $13,000
- Valley County Sheriff’s Office – $10,460
The following agencies will receive additional funding to support costs of the K9 and training not covered in their original $10,000 award:
- Billings Police Department – $5,000
- Bozeman Police Department – $3,132
- Carbon County Sheriff’s Office – $4,900
- Cascade County Sheriff’s Office – $3,303
- Columbus Police Department – $3,500
- Dawson County Sheriff’s Office – $3,589
- Hill County Sheriff’s Office – $760
- Lake County Sheriff’s Office – $4,648
- Meagher County Sheriff’s Office – $3,313
- Missoula County Sheriff’s Office – $4,000
- Missoula Police Department – $10,000
- Musselshell County Sheriff’s Office – $3,000
- Rosebud County Sheriff’s Office – $3,500
- Sidney Police Department – $5,000
During the 2021 Legislative Session, Knudsen secured funds in House Bill 701 for the Montana Department of Justice to administer a grant program helping law enforcement agencies purchase and train new drug detecting canines to replace those that were trained to detect marijuana after voters last year passed an initiative legalizing the drug. Representative Mike Hopkins carried the legislation implementing the initiative, while Representative Barry Usher sponsored the amendment containing the funds.
Methamphetamine and other drugs trafficked into Montana contributed to a 91 percent increase in violent crime from 2013 to 2020, Montana Board of Crime Control statistics show. Attorney General Knudsen is committed to reversing this trend and putting the Department of Justice’s focus back on public safety.