KSP Commissioner responds over resignation following training controversy

Commissioner Rodney Brewer (Source: WAVE 3 News)
Commissioner Rodney Brewer (Source: WAVE 3 News)
Updated: Nov. 4, 2020 at 2:12 PM EST
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Kentucky State Police Commissioner Rodney Brewer has stepped down after Governor Andy Beshear’s office called for his resignation.

WAVE 3 News Troubleshooters broke the news of Rodney Brewer’s resignation Monday evening.

The training materials used by cadets prior to 2013, before they were removed, pushed the recruits to be “ruthless killers,” the DuPont Manual High School newspaper Manual RedEye reported.

The student publication revealed a photo slideshow that quoted Nazi leader Adolf Hitler, encouraging cadets to use violence while on the force.

Beshear had appointed Brewer commissioner years after Brewer had served in the same role under Beshear’s father, former Gov. Steve Beshear.

This was a letter penned from Brewer about his resignation to the department.

"As you are probably aware, a PowerPoint 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 careers. 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.”

Lieutenant Colonel Phillip Burnett will be acting commissioner as KSP finds a permanent replacement.

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