Cadet Training Manual for Kentucky State Police Academy featured Hitler Quotes

If you’ve wondered lately why the behavior of U.S. police seems to emulate that of the Nazis, details about a Kentucky State Police training program may help connect those dots for you. In fact, materials used within the KSP academy included multiple direct quotes from Adolf Hitler, as well as several other historical white supremacists and psychopaths.

Lt. Curt Hall Kentucky State Police Training
Lt. Curt Hall is seen conducting Kentucky State Police Academy training with incoming cadets

These slides used during cadet training also encouraged the future cops to be overwhelmingly violent, disregard department policies, and to compartmentalize their emotions and personal morals in order to separate those tendencies from that violence. At one point within the presentation, they are implored to be “ruthless killers.”

Not surprisingly, this training was designed to correspond to the heavily criticized “Warrior Cop” mentality that has permeated recent police training, which encourages police officers to adopt a mindset that they are soldiers at war with the communities in which they work. Equally unsurprising, the average body count racked up by police departments has steadily climbed higher and higher since this training has become prominent throughout law enforcement nationwide.

Hateful Rhetoric Encouraging “Warriors” to use Extreme Violence

Kentucky State Police Training Manual with Hitler Quotes
“The very first essential for success is a perpetually constant and regular employment of violence” Adolf Hitler

So-called Warrior Training is a training program that has gained great popularity among police departments in recent years. It was created by former Army Ranger Lt. Colonel Dave Grossman, who spends as much as 300 days out of the year conducting training seminars for police departments and federal agencies across the country. During his seminars, he implores attendees to always be prepared to kill and to fight violence with “superior violence and righteous violence” and heavily promotes the mythical “war on cops” to justify its aggressive tone. In his spare time, he even writes books about killing. (Ironically, Grossman admits to never having actually killed anyone during his time in the military.)

Law Enforcement Officers, including  Jeronimo Yanez just prior to his murder of Philando Castille, are taught within this warrior training to believe that everyone they encounter is out to kill them and that they must be ready to kill them first. Within the “warrior mindset” police officers are crusading heroes that impose their will and inflict violence on others for the good of society. It promotes a shoot first approach that paints everyone as an enemy that must be dealt with harshly and by employing extreme violence, by default. It’s been described as “fear porn” and results in scared, impulsive killers, who are trained to detach themselves emotionally from their actions and the resulting effects upon their victims.

The Kentucky State Police training program takes even the extreme nature of  Warrior Training to another level by injecting fascist dog whistles and even outright direct statements from the architect of Nazi Germany’s genocidal regime. The KSP training was designed by former assistant academy commander Lt. Curt Hall (who recently retired as a captain) and reportedly ran from at least 2005 until 2013. Previous claims that the slideshow was only used once have since been contradicted by evidence that a second version of it was created in 2001 and last edited in 2011 (also by Lt. Hall).  The Kentucky State Police has since failed to respond to FOIA requests that would document exactly when and how such materials were used.

portrait of Hitler
Hitler (photo taken prior to becoming KSP trainer)

The star of the show, so to speak, is of course the homicidal maniac that murdered over 6 million people and caused a world-wide war that killed millions more. Adolf Hitler is quoted three times throughout the slideshow of images used for the KSP training; the most out of anyone. That includes gems like this from Mein Kampf: “the very first essential for success is a perpetually constant and regular employment of violence.” Links to a page on Goodreads.com with biographical information on Hitler and further quotes were also included. It’s almost like Lt. Hall is a huge fan of the Fuhrer and his message and wanted to share it as wide as possible.

In addition, another slide is blank except for the words “Über Alles” written in large text. This references a former version of the German national anthem and translates to “above all” or “above everything else,” While it predates Hitler’s rise to power the Nazis commonly used its literal implications to signify nationalistic ideas of superiority over others. Although those particular lyrics were removed after the Second World War, modern Germans heavily associate the phrase with the Nazi era. Similarly, current neo-Nazis and white supremacist groups often use the version featuring the Über Alles lyrics publicly.

Others quoted within the photos include Attila the Hun, Sun Tzu, Alexander the Great, Gen. MacArthur, and King Archadamus II, as well as several other historical military leaders. All of the quotations attributed to them were aimed at encouraging cadets to adopt stereotypical traits of combat soldiers and other aggressive behaviors often associated with manliness.  One of the slides, entitled “Violence of Action,” in addition to imploring officers to be “ruthless killers” who “always fight to the death,” instructs troopers to have “a mindset void of emotion” and to “meet violence with greater violence.” 

General Robert E. Lee is also quoted in a slide labeled the “Thin Gray Line” (like the Confederate Army that fought a war in an attempt to preserve slavery, Kentucky State Police uniforms are gray) telling trainees that they should subject their private and public lives to “separate rules” and stating that policy, tact, and expediency are just “words devised to conceal a deviation from a straight line.” This particular slide also features two photos of previous cadet classes that are “coincidentally” all-white.

Systemic and Far Reaching Impact

Kentucky State Police Commissioner Rodney Brewer
Kentucky State Police Commissioner Rodney Brewer

Kentucky police have seemingly taken that advice to be “Ruthless Killers” to heart. In 2019 the KSP was responsible for the killing of 15 citizens. Police in Louisville, the largest municipal area in Kentucky, also accounted for another 14 deaths. The killing of Breonna Taylor by Louisville police officers earlier this year and subsequent lack of any effort to hold her muderers accountable obviously brought a lot of focus to that department.

The training materials were initially exposed after they were given to David Ward, a lawyer who is suing a Kentucky State Police trooper that shot and killed a man in 2018.  The lawsuit involved the killing of Bradley J. Grant, who had been threatening to commit suicide at the time he was shot by KSP troopers. The PowerPoint presentation was received in response to a public records request for documents that the trooper had seen when he was going through training at the academy in 2013.

The photos were subsequently published in an article by Satchel and Cooper Walton, whose father is also a lawyer involved in the Grant lawsuit, at the Manual Redeye, a Louisville area high school paper. Shortly after, Kentucky State Police Commissioner Rodney Brewer announced he would retire. Brewer was the commissioner in 2013 during the time that this training was taught. He also spent time as trainer at the KSP academy himself, although it’s “unknown” if he personally taught them how to be ruthless killers and to draw inspiration from Hitler. Regardless, of whether that was the case or not, it’s hard to believe that someone who was involved in the training and eventually was the head of the entire department would be unaware of its existence.

***Update: On the day of his resignation (Nov. 4th), ex-Commissioner Brewer published a letter in which he states that it was all just a big misunderstanding:

“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.”

While he maintains that he wasn’t actually aware of the quotes until they were exposed by the public records disclosure, he doesn’t elaborate on the context in which those quotes and the repeated appeals to use extreme violence throughout the presentation would accomplish that purpose.

Nor does he explain how he is able to put something he claims he wasn’t even aware of “into context.” Logically, it would seem that you’d have to know about the existence of something in order to understand its original “intended purpose.”***

Incidentally, Lt. Curt Hall the originator of that training, also spent time as the commander of the KSP internal affairs department after his stint as a trainer. So the guy who spent years training incoming Kansas State troopers to be remorseless killers that purposely disregard department policies and their own morality was, at that point, the head of the department that “investigates” citizen’s complaints of excessive force and misconduct by cops.

Yes, We Have Questions

The last slide states in oversized bold letters “Questions?

Here are a few…

How many other departments are (officially) training their officers to be literal violent fascists that view killing someone as a first option? Should it really have been hard to predict that this type of training (even the slightly less overt “warrior training”) would result in cops that are increasingly becoming more violent and aggressive, while also increasingly tending to be emotionless and lacking any sign of a conscience? Unless the idea was to create a police force full of Nazis why would having a large portion of your training materials being inspired by Hitler seem like a good idea? Just how many “Bad Apples” have fallen off that tree over the years?

Is anyone actually surprised that people are becoming less and less inclined to trust and feel safe around police officers?


Local Coverage of the Kentucky State Police’s Nazi Training Program


Beau of the Fifth Column” Discusses the Kentucky State Police and “Warrior Training”

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