Kentucky Politics

Kentucky State Police Commissioner Rodney Brewer is resigning effective this week, a state spokesperson confirmed Tuesday.

The resignation comes days after a Louisville high school newspaper reported that the KSP offered a training on the “warrior mindset,” citing Adolf Hitler and Robert E. Lee.

The resignation was first reported by WAVE 3 News. A request for comment from a KSP spokesperson was answered by Morgan Hall, communications director for the Justice and Public Safety Cabinet.

“The Governor, Justice and Public Safety Cabinet and Kentucky State Police thank Commissioner Brewer for his decades of service,” Hall’s statement said. “As of today, the Justice and Public Safety Cabinet continues to work diligently to swiftly and thoroughly conduct an internal review of all training materials and will provide information as it becomes available.”

Hall said Brewer’s resignation will be effective Wednesday, and Gov. Andy Beshear has selected Lieutenant Colonel Phillip Burnett to be acting commissioner.

Brewer began his second stint as KSP’s commissioner when Beshear appointed him to the post. He also served as commissioner from 2007-2016 under former governor Steve Beshear — and the training program was offered during his tenure, in 2013. The trainer, Lt. Curt Hall, has since retired.

Gov. Beshear addressed the issue during his Monday evening COVID-19 briefing. In a press release issued after, Beshear said it was “unacceptable,” and he’s committed to “making this right.”

“We believe that presentation was only given one single time, to one single class, but it is absolutely and totally unacceptable.”

The Manual Red Eye reported in its investigation that an attorney obtained the slides in the discovery phase of a lawsuit. 

They were used to train a detective who shot and killed a man in Harlan County. 

This story has been updated to include a statement from the state Justice and Public Safety Cabinet.

Kate Howard is the managing editor of the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting.