A slideshow that officials with The Kentucky State Police decided to show to young cadets promoted violence and used quotes from problematic figures such as Adolf Hitler and Robert E. Lee. The presentation was titled “The Warrior Mindset,” and encouraged cadets to become “the loving father, spouse, and friend as well as the ruthless killer.”
The slideshow was obtained by an attorney in Kentucky named David Ward, who filed an open records request on behalf of the Adams Landenwich Walton law firm as part of a lawsuit. The lawsuit was regarding the death of a man who was killed by police in Harlan County, but for some reason, the slideshow was included in the documents.
Ted Walton, one of the partners at the law firm, handed the documents over to his two teenage sons, who broke the national story in their high school newspaper The Manual RedEye. The fact that it was teenagers who did the initial reporting on this story is fitting, considering that these slideshows were given to teenagers with aspirations of becoming police.
The disturbing slideshow featured a line from Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf that reads, “The very first essential for success is a perpetually constant and regular employment of violence.”
Hitler is quoted 3 times in the presentation, which makes him the most quoted person in the slideshow.
The slideshow also links to a Goodreads page for Hitler.
Confederate General Robert E. Lee was quoted in a slide titled “The Thin Gray Line,” which showed a group of white officers in the department’s traditional gray uniforms. Confederate uniforms were also gray, which makes Lee’s quote on this particular slide all that more suspicious. Lee’s quote instructs the cadets that “manliness will carry you through the world much better than policy.”
Another slide features an absurd quote about how the world can live without engineers and doctors, but not without warriors.
The phrase “Über Alles” is featured in large text on the final page of the slideshow, which is a German term that means “above all” or “above everything else.” The phrase was once in the German national anthem, but has since been removed because it emphasizes national superiority, and is associated with the Nazis.
In a statement emailed to RedEye, KSP spokesperson Lieutenant Joshua Lawson admitted that the slides were real, but defended them being in the presentation, saying that they were included because of their “relevance” to law enforcement, not necessarily because of the person who said them.
“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,” the statement read.
In a followup email, Lawson clarified that the presentation was seven years old. Morgan Hall, the Communications Director for the Kentucky Justice and Public Safety Cabinet, which oversees the State Police, later confirmed that the presentation has not been used since 2013.
The slides were put together by now-retired Lieutenant Curt Hall, according to a deposition given by KSP Captain James Goble on October 14. Hall’s name was also on the front page of the presentation.
Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear responded to the report by saying: “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.”
Rep. John Yarmuth, Chairman of the House Budget Committee, also expressed his disgust with the leaked presentation.
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