The Kentucky State Police used a training slideshow as recently as 2013 that included quotes from Adolf Hitler advocating violence and urged cadets to be “ruthless.” News about the slideshow was first broken by student journalists at the Manual RedEye, the newspaper for duPont Manual High School in Louisville.
The slideshow came to light after a local attorney, David Ward, made an open records request to obtain police training materials during the discovery phase of a lawsuit involving a detective who fatally shot a man in 2018.
After obtaining the training slideshow, Ward shared it with Manual RedEye, which published an exposé on the materials.
The Kentucky State Police Academy slideshow is titled “The Warrior Mindset,” and its stated objectives include “understand[ing] the importance of ethical and moral decisions as it relates to combat.”
The slides include quotes from an array of historical and fictional figures, including Confederate General Robert E. Lee, Benjamin Franklin, J.R.R. Tolkien and Batman.
One slide, titled “Violence of Action,” includes a quote from the Nazi leader Adolph Hitler’s anti-Semitic manifesto “Mein Kampf”: “The very first essential for success is a perpetually constant and regular employment of violence.”
Two subsequent slides also included Hitler quotes, and the presentation links to a Goodreads page on Hitler. According to the Manual RedEye, Hitler is the most quoted person in the presentation.
On another slide, a quote from Robert E. Lee advises, “Truth and manliness will carry you through the world much better than policy.” Many slides include military imagery.
The slideshow also encourages police trainees to be “ruthless without anger,” to have “a mindset void of emotion” and to “meet violence with greater violence.” One slide includes the line, “Be the loving father, spouse, and friend as well as the ruthless killer.”
A closing slide is entitled “Über Alles,” a phrase associated with Nazis often used signify national superiority.
In a statement to the Manual RedEye, Kentucky State Police spokesperson Lieutenant Joshua Lawson said: “The quotes are used for their content and relevance to the topic addressed in the presentation. The presentation touches on several aspects of service, selflessness, and moral guidance. All of these topics go to the fundamentals of law enforcement such as treating everyone equally, service to the public, and being guided by the law.”
In a statement provided to CBS News, Governor Andy Beshear said: “This is absolutely unacceptable. It is further unacceptable that I just learned about this through social media. We will collect all the facts and take immediate corrective action.”
“Our administration does not condone the use of this material,” Justice and Public Safety Cabinet communications director Morgan Hall told CBS News in a separate statement.
“The material is not currently a part of any training materials and was removed in 2013. Upon learning of this matter on Friday, the cabinet immediately began an internal review. The cabinet will continue to collect information and take corrective action, as well as inform the public,” Hall’s statement said. The Kentucky State Police is located within the Justice and Public Safety Cabinet.
The students’ article was published on Friday and quickly went viral.
Congressman John Yarmouth, a Democrat representing the Louisville area, retweeted the article, writing: “I am angry. As a Kentuckian, I am angry and embarrassed. And as a Jewish American, I am genuinely disturbed that there are people like this who not only walk among us, but who have been entrusted to keep us safe. There needs to be consequences.”
“And don’t give us the ‘it’s a few bad apples’ excuse,” Yarmouth wrote in a second tweet. “This is a poisonous culture that has gotten too many innocent people harassed and killed, and we refuse to stand for it any longer.”