Missoula County Attorney Kirsten Pabst has been recognized multiple times by the National District Attorneys Association, and now she has been chosen to help lead the organization.

“I’ve been selected to be on the board of directors of the national District Attorneys Association and to be one of the vice presidents,” said Pabst. “That entails working with the board which involves representatives from every state. I'm also on the executive committee and so that's a smaller group; a higher level executive functioning group that works on policy with Congress on new criminal justice bills.”

Pabst was asked about the nationwide effort to defund police and other law enforcement agencies.

They're recognizing that the way that we have been handling criminal justice over the past several hundred years is just not working,” she said. “Mass incarceration is not working. We have issues of racial disparity, gender disparity and they are taking proactive steps to, to sort of right that ship.”

Pabst focused on the Missoula law enforcement community.

“Our local police officers and our local Sheriff's Department are critically underfunded,” she said. “It seems that we're always needing more officers to respond to crime. And as you know, our crime rates haven't taken any significant dips. There's no shortage of crime for either law enforcement or my office to respond to. It's more a matter of let's look at how we're spending our money and seeing if we can tweak it and fill the gaps and look at it in a new way that better addresses some of these historical problems.”

Pabst has served as county attorney since 2015. She started her career as a prosecutor 25 years ago and has worked with the NDAA as a trial instructor for the past 20 years. In addition, she lectured at the NDAA convention about the Secondary Trauma program developed in Missoula addressing the stress that occurs in trying violent criminal cases.

She presents a weekly crime report every Friday on KGVO’s Talk Back program; another effort now being adopted by some of her colleagues.