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Kentucky Police Training Manual Quotes Adolph Hitler

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A training slideshow used by the Kentucky State Police (KSP) — the second largest police force in the state — urges cadets to be “ruthless killer[s]” and quotes Adolf Hitler advocating violence.

The slideshow was included in KSP documents obtained by local attorney David Ward of Adams Landenwich Walton during the discovery phase of a lawsuit. Ward requested KSP materials used to train a detective who shot and killed a man in Harlan County, and Ward shared the presentation with Manual RedEye. 

One slide, titled “Violence of Action,” in addition to imploring officers to be “ruthless killer[s],” instructs troopers to have “a mindset void of emotion” and to “meet violence with greater violence.” 

A line from Adolf Hitler’s fascist and antisemitic manifesto, Mein Kampf, is featured in the slide: “the very first essential for success is a perpetually constant and regular employment of violence.” The presentation also links to a Hitler page on Goodreads, a database of quotes and books. Two other slides quoting Hitler bring his total to three, making him the most quoted person in the presentation. 

KSP spokesperson Lieutenant Joshua Lawson wrote, “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 separate email, Lawson also stated that the presentation seems to be seven years old and appears to have been made by an instructor at the academy. It is not clear how long the presentation was used, or if it is still used. 

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The training materials are coming to light during a national discussion about systemic racism and the role of police in communities, a debate centered on Kentucky after Louisville Metro Police Department officers shot Breonna Taylor in March.

During the same timeframe, the Louisville Metro Police Department, the largest police force in the state, killed 15 people, including Taylor.

A closing slide of the Powerpoint simply states “Über Alles” in large text. The phrase, which was previously part of the German national anthem, translates to “above all” or “above everything else,” commonly used to signify national superiority. Modern Germans heavily associate the phrase with the Nazis.

KSP did not respond to an open records request sent in October seeking additional records, which sought to find out how long the presentations were used in trainings and if any complaints had been lodged by cadets or other KSP personnel. 

In a deposition on October 14, KSP Captain James Goble said that Lieutenant Curt Hall, whose name is on the slideshow, taught “warrior mentality” trainings at the KSP Academy.

Hall was the Assistant Commander at the KSP Academy from 2005 to 2015, and later became Commander of Internal Affairs at KSP before recently retiring. The internal affairs unit is typically tasked with investigating police misconduct.