Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen appeared on the KGVO Montana Morning news show on Friday as he was driving into Missoula, and asked Montanans to commemorate National Police Week. May 9-15.

“Well, Peter, here's what we've got going on in the state of Montana,” said Knudsen. “We know violent crime is increasing. We know methamphetamine from the southern border is driving this up, and that's why it is a very dangerous time to be a law enforcement officer in Montana. We don't have the statewide numbers, but what we do know is in our most populous city of Billings, incidents of assault on police officers were up 50% last year.”

Another reason to honor police, Knudsen said, is the rising tide of antagonism toward law enforcement nationwide.

“With the national climate right now, there are movements that are really attacking law enforcement, to defund the police or even abolish the police,” he said. “We hear these things over and over on the national media. It's important that we as Montanans show our support. Montana is a great state. We recruit a lot of officers into the state right now because frankly, we're a pro law enforcement state, and we want it to stay that way.”

Knudsen said there are many new recruits, specifically for the Montana Highway Patrol that are coming here because of the pro-law enforcement atmosphere.

“Now in the Montana Highway Patrol, we hear new candidates telling us constantly that they're visiting here and they're considering moving here, and they want to come here because they see that our citizens are thankful for law enforcement,” he said. “I polled a lot of our new troopers and recent Law Enforcement Academy graduates. Montanans know that they have our back and we have theirs.”

Knudsen asked KGVO listeners to say thank you to local law enforcement officers.

“If you see a police officer or highway patrolman or a sheriff's deputy having a cup of coffee, go sit down and visit with them,” he said. “They're members of our community. They've got kids in the school just like you probably do. You know, they're people just like us. They appreciate good neighbors, and we need to let them know that we're good neighbors.”

Knudsen is the former Roosevelt County Attorney.

 

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