Kentucky state police cadets learned about "truth and manliness" from Robert E. Lee and the value of faith over knowledge from Adolf Hitler in a discontinued training slideshow, officials said Monday.
Louisville attorney David Ward obtained the 33-slide presentation, titled "The Warrior Mindset," through a public records request made in connection to the fatal police shooting of Harlan County man in 2018.
In the fifth slide with "The Thin Gray Line" written across the top, state police are shown standing at attention, in formation, with a quote attributed to the Confederate military leader Robert E. Lee.
“Private and public life are subject to the same rules; Truth and manliness are two qualities that will carry you through this world much better than policy or tact of expediency or other words that were devised to conceal a deviation from a straight line," the slide said.
Then, on 29th slide, cadets are told they "become hard to kill" once their "value system is in place." And to support this theory, the presentation quotes Hitler saying: "It's always more difficult to fight against faith than against knowledge."
Those slides were shown once just, to cadets in 2013, Gov. Andy Beshear said.
"From what we can find thus far that individual presentation we believe was only given one single time to one single class but it is absolutely and totally unacceptable," he told reporters late Monday afternoon.
"Unacceptable. There is no rationale or reason, that is ever OK. "
It wasn't clear how many cadets were shown these slides.
The governor promised a thorough review.
"We are checking all training materials goin back in time and looking at the present and we are committed to making this right," he said.
A representative for the Kentucky State Police could not be immediately reached for comment on Monday.
Ward said these messages fly in the face of modern police training on how to bring peace or de-escalate tense situations.
"These slides teach cadets to have a mindset of being prepared for war or combat," Ward said. "The training contains quotes about manliness over policy and meeting violence with greater violence. Cadets should instead should be trained to have a mindset of patience, restraint and de-escalation."
The presentation's 30th slide shows the famous picture of U.S. Marines raising the American flag on Iwo Jima.
And superimposed over the U.S. flag are the words, "Über Alles," German for "above all" and a phrase best known for its use by Hitler in speeches to foment German nationalism.