Missoula, MT (KGVO-AM News) - Long a staple to Friday mornings on the KGVO Talk Back show, Missoula County Attorney Kirsten Pabst has announced her retirement effective at the end of March.

KGVO News spoke to Pabst the day of her announcement, and she looked back at her nearly 30-year career as a prosecutor and the Missoula County Attorney.

Missoula County Attorney Kirsten Pabst Announces Her Retirement

“I started as a prosecutor intern in the spring of 1994,” began Pabst. “ Dusty, (Robert L. ‘Dusty’ Deschamps) hired me and they sent me to court on my first day, so I grabbed the file and said, ‘Okay’, and just have never looked back. I had a real affinity for doing criminal justice work. As you know, I did a little defense work and a lot of prosecution work, and I just had an affinity for it. I started out working with victims of domestic violence and knew that that was a huge part of my calling and found that to be pretty rewarding.”

One of the innovations that Pabst began was the crime report every Friday morning on the KGVO Talk Back show, which she appreciated as a way to keep the public informed about the cases going forward every week.

Pabst has Appeared on the KGVO Talk Back show each Friday with the Crime Report

“It's an honor to be part of that and to be invited to your table,” she said. “Because, you know, part of my responsibility is to communicate with the folks who elected me and let them know what we're doing and how we're doing it. Some days are hard and other days are rewarding, but they don't know that unless I'm able to tell them, and it's because KGVO has given us this opportunity to communicate, we're able to share that information and I really appreciate that.”

Pabst has a special place in her heart for the many women who work in her office and throughout the law enforcement community, especially those who juggle the tasks of work and raising young children.

“Hands down, it’s the people. I am so inspired by them every day. They're just an amazing team. I'm going to miss mentoring the young women, (especially) the young moms because I've been in those shoes. I know how hard it is to be in this sort of male-dominated business and try to be a mother and raise a family with little kids and still do your job to protect the community. My heart goes out to each one of these kids that you work with that you represent but at the same time, we've got our own at home. I know how hard that is. I'm going to miss working with them and encouraging them. I'm going to miss working with the law students because I spend a lot of time at the law school.”

Pabst worked as a deputy prosecutor in Cascade and Missoula counties, was called in as a special prosecutor for Lewis and Clark County, and managed a solo practice before she was first elected as County Attorney in 2014. She was re-elected in 2018 and then to her third term in 2022.

According to a press release issued by Missoula County;

'Pabst has been named Criminal Justice Professional of the Year and recently received two national achievement awards for her work in the evolving field of secondary trauma mitigation. The National Association of Counties (NACO) recently honored her prosecution-led pretrial diversion program, Montana’s first, with another National Achievement Award. Recently the U.S. Forest Service Law Enforcement Unit bestowed its highest honor upon Pabst for her office’s longstanding partnership with the agency and her commitment to protecting the people, property, and natural resources of the region.'

The County Commissioners will Appoint an Interim Replacement in April

The Missoula Board of County Commissioners will appoint an interim replacement. Pabst recommends, without hesitation, her Chief Criminal Deputy, Matt Jennings, as her replacement.

The Missoula County Commissioners will appoint an interim county attorney to replace Pabst. The interim county attorney will need to run in the November general election to continue serving the remainder of Pabst's term, which runs through 2026.

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