Montana AG Austin Knudsen on Mandates CRT and Drug Sniffing Dogs
In a wide ranging phone call with Montana’s Attorney General Austin Knudsen, several callers to KGVO’s Talk Back Show fired questions including his stand on the many federal vaccination mandates currently under judicial review.
“I come down the side of personal choice,” began Attorney General Knudsen. “If you feel like you are safer with a vaccine, then by all means go get a vaccine. The problem I have is the government telling everybody else that they have to go get a vaccine to keep you safe. We've never operated that way before. This is a very, very touchy personal decision that I think everyone should talk to their doctor and make for themselves. But again, if you want to get the vaccine, go for it. If you don't, well then you should certainly have the right to do that in this country.”
One group currently being required to be vaccinated is the U.S. military, and Knudsen said unfortunately, there’s little civil action can do to help that population.
“Unfortunately for a lot of our armed forces, the military is a power that falls squarely under the federal constitution under the executive branch, and there's no question that the President is the Commander in Chief of the armed forces,” he said. “I've been getting a lot of phone calls from a lot of enlisted folks who are very upset about this. I wish my answer was better than that. But I think that is an authority that does fall squarely within the executive power under the federal constitution.”
Regarding the topic of Critical Race Theory, an issue upon which Knudsen recently wrote a binding opinion for Superintendent of Public Instruction Elsie Arntzen, Knudsen said this.
“First of all, my mother's an enrolled tribal member, so I'm tribal,” he said. “So the idea that I'm somehow a white supremacist, that's one that just makes me kind of chuckle to myself. But secondly, we have to teach history. We have to learn from our mistakes as a country and as a people. Did racism occur? Absolutely. Did discrimination occur historically? Absolutely. We've taken large affirmative steps in this country to address that, and so that's really what my opinion on critical race theory came down to.”
Another caller brought up the subject of drug interdiction dogs, and the fact that all the current K-9 officers were trained to detect all drugs, including marijuana, which is now legal thanks to the vote of a majority of Montanans, so all those animals must be retired and replaced.
“I'm really pleased to announce both Missoula PD and Missoula County Sheriff's Office have gone through two rounds of grants now,” he said. “In the first round of grants, they each got about $10,000. And with the second round combined, they ended up with about another $14,000. That's going to go a long way towards purchasing and training some new canines for your drug interdiction teams. So that's what we're doing about it here in the Department of Justice. We're getting resources out of Helena and getting them out to your sheriff's office and your local PD.”
The cost of training a drug-sniffing K-9 officer runs between $12,000 to $15,000, according to police1.com.