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'Repugnant' Kentucky State Police training included Hitler's guidance on violence

By Karla Ward, Lexington Herald-Leader on

Published in News & Features

The document is sprinkled throughout with quotes attributed to others, including Gen. Robert E. Lee, Thurgood Marshall, Gandhi, Alexander the Great, Sun Tzu, Albert Einstein, Ralph Waldo Emerson and J.R.R. Tolkien.

The stated goals of the presentation included helping attendees "understand the importance of having a good value system in combat" and "understand the importance of ethical and moral decisions as it relates to combat."

Jack Glaser, a professor at the University of California, Berkeley, told the RedEye journalists that "the focus on warriors and combat is deeply problematic" because coming at police work from a "warrior mindset" "can make violent conflict more likely."

There has been much discussion in recent years about the more traditional "warrior" mentality in policing vs. a "guardian" mindset in which the focus shifts toward community partnerships and positive relationships between police and the public.

American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky Executive Director Michael Aldridge called the training materials "repugnant and completely unacceptable" and called on the state police "to conduct an immediate, transparent review of training materials."

"Any cadet who trained with the KSP while these materials were used should be retrained immediately, and the agency should take proactive measures to ensure this type of material is never used when training law enforcement officers," he said in a statement. "As the nation grapples with systemic racism and distrust of law enforcement grows, transparency and community-centric training practices are as important as ever. Training should be focused on de-escalation and conflict resolution, not use of force."

Rep. John Yarmuth, D-Ky., tweeted in response to the story, saying "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."


Rabbi Shlomo Litvin, director of Chabad of the Bluegrass, denounced the training, saying "the promotion of Hitler, the man responsible for the murder of 6 million Jews, millions of others, and the worse crimes in the modern era, by an agency tasked with serving and protecting our community is shocking."

"The Torah, the Jewish Scripture calls for the formation of Police and tasks them with the responsibility of protecting society," Litvin said in a statement. "This training, however, is a direct affront to that duty, encouraging violence among KSP officers, and quoting generals and murderers."

The student journalists said they obtained the slideshow from an attorney, David Ward of Adams Landenwich Walton, who received it as part of an open records request while working on a lawsuit. A note at the bottom of the RedEye story says the reporters are related to a partner at the company.

Ward received the PowerPoint presentation after asking the state for materials that were used to train a detective responsible for the shooting death of Bradley Grant in Harlan County in 2018, the student newspaper reported.

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