Gov. Beshear gives update on KSP training material review, commissioner resignation

KSP training material is being reviewed after old training slides showed quotes from Hitler.
KSP training material is being reviewed after old training slides showed quotes from Hitler.(WBKO)
Published: Nov. 3, 2020 at 9:00 PM EST
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - Kentucky State Police has come under fire for some old training material that included quotes from Adolf Hitler and a confederate army leader.

It’s a 33-page slideshow titled “The Warrior Mindset” containing quotes from Hitler and Confederate General Robert E. Lee that people have said crosses a thin blue line.

“We are conducting a top to bottom review of training materials,” Governor Andy Beshear said.

When the old training material was brought into the spotlight by two Louisville high school journalists, KSP immediately released a statement saying the material is unacceptable and that it was removed in 2013.

Since then, Governor Beshear reported they have found one other PowerPoint that contains some of the same information from the same trainer.

“We have not yet been able to determine whether it is a different version or whether it was provided at a different time,” Beshear said. “We want to make sure we get answers to all of those questions.”

KSP Commissioner Rodney Brewer announced his resignation effective Wednesday, but when asked if Governor Beshear called for that resignation in response to the training material, he declined to answer.

“With regards to the commissioner, he has submitted his resignation,” Beshear said. “He has given decades of his life in service to KSP, I’ve known him for 34 years, and so I’m just going to thank him for his service.”

Instead, he said they’re focusing on the training review to find out how many officers received it.

“The review going back is also going to help us to ensure that we have the right training moving forward,” Beshear said.

Lieutenant Colonel Phillip Burnett will act as the Interim Commissioner until KSP finds a permanent replacement.

WKYT obtained a copy of a letter sent to troopers by Brewer the day before his resignation. The letter reads as follows:

"As you are probably aware, a power point presentation recently emerged in the media from an academy lecture that utilized some disturbing language, including quotes from Adolph Hitler. The presentation quickly went viral without an opportunity for the agency to frame the context in which it was used. The intended purpose was to underscore the importance of a strong moral barometer amongst cadets and the dangers of being swayed by outside influences. The presentation was only utilized once and occurred nearly eight years ago. In retrospect, better examples could have been utilized with greater clarification as to its intended purpose. I was unaware of its existence until it surfaced through an open records request several days ago.

"As a result, the Governor’s Office contacted me over the weekend to request my resignation. I complied with that request and tendered my resignation effective close of business on November 4, 2020.

"Anyone who knows anything about the Kentucky State Police knows the quality and content of our training. To insinuate that we condone violence or glorify the dogma of past dictators is absurd. Since 1948 we have continually evolved and improved our training to develop the very best trooper that the Commonwealth expects and deserves. Our training today is based upon the latest research and police science available. Our cadet training involves a multitude of topical areas applicable to today’s societal challenges: integrity and ethics in public service, crisis intervention for the mentally ill, behavioral self-control, conflict management for racially sensitive issues, empathy communication, emotional intelligence and much more. The curriculum is specifically tailored for today’s world and is truly some of the best basic training that is offered throughout the United States.

"Although our training has evolved greatly since our inception, some things have remained constant. Our focus remains on recruiting the individual who can maintain the guardian mentality even during those momentary periods in their career where a tactical mindset must be utilized. The Kentucky State Police has always believed in displaying dignity, compassion and fairness when dealing with the public. We strongly adhere to the timeless core values of honor, integrity and courage throughout our career. Courtesy and professionalism continue to be the trademark of every trooper who proudly wears our uniform. We believe that all people are created equal and remain color blind regarding the race, religion or creed of those who desperately need our assistance. Our oath of office is a covenant that assures the citizenry that if need be, we will lay down our life for them, even though we may not know their name. This is what we continually strive for….this is who we are.

"Unfortunately, we live in a world that is often quick to judge, utilizing short sound bites often taken from unreliable sources that lack the depth and content needed for a balanced, factual assessment. This situation will bring much inquiry regarding our training and tactics. However, I welcome the transparency and scrutiny of our entire process that makes up that unique individual called a Kentucky State Trooper.

“In closing, it has been my honor to serve as your Commissioner over the past ten months. We have overcome many obstacles and challenges in 2020 thanks to your diligence, patience and professionalism. As always, I continue to support each of you through words, deeds, and prayers in the years ahead.”

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