Attorney General Knudsen Announces First Round of K9 Grant Awards to Crack Down on Illegal Drugs
Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen announced the first round of grant awards today that will help local law enforcement agencies obtain and train new canine units to crack down on illegal drugs being trafficked into Montana. Announced in August, the new program reflects Attorney General Knudsen’s commitment to moving resources out of Helena and into the hands of local first responders and law enforcement.
“Dangerous drugs like methamphetamine and fentanyl are coming in from the southern border and leading to an increase in crime across Montana. This program is part of my commitment to getting additional resources into the hands of local first responders,” Attorney General Knudsen said. “Once trained, these canines and law enforcement officers will be on the front lines protecting our communities from drugs and the crime they cause.”
Eighteen grants were approved by the selection committee. The following applications were approved:
- Billings Police Department
- Bozeman Police Department
- Carbon County Sheriff’s Office
- Cascade County Sheriff’s Office
- Columbus Police Department
- Dawson County Sheriff’s Office
- Havre Police Department
- Helena Police Department
- Hill County Sheriff’s Office
- Lake County Sheriff’s Office
- Lewis and Clark County Sheriff’s Office
- Meagher County Sheriff’s Office
- Missoula County Sheriff’s Office
- Missoula Police Department
- Musselshell County Sheriff’s Office
- Ravalli County Sheriff’s Office
- Rosebud County Sheriff’s Office
- Sidney Police Department
Law enforcement agencies that did not meet the deadline for the first round of grants and agencies that would like to apply for reimbursement of costs already incurred this calendar year to replace their marijuana-certified canines are able to apply for a $10,000 portion of the remaining $120,000 in the program. Applications must be submitted for the second round of grant dollars by Nov. 5, 2021.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 K9s 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 trafficked into Montana has led to a 91 percent increase in violent crime from 2013 to 2020, Montana Board of Crime Control statistics show. Austin Knudsen is committed to reversing this trend and putting the focus of the Attorney General’s Office on public safety.