KSP

Kentucky State Police Commissioner Resigning

Nov 3, 2020
Ryland Barton

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.

Lisa Autry

State police posts across Kentucky are expanding their services to include a victim’s advocate who will provide support to victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and other crimes.

A program called Victim Advocate Support Services (VASS) was announced on Thursday at the KSP post in Elizabethtown. 

The program will connect crime victims with resources like counseling and legal support, and keep them up to date as their case moves through the court system.

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State officials have announced a new initiative that will allow recruits going through law enforcement basic training to earn an associate’s degree.

The free program, called Educating Heroes, is being launched by Kentucky’s Department of Criminal Justice Training (DOCJT). Police officers who graduate DOCJT’s basic training would earn 45 credit hours at Bluegrass Community and Technical College. Recruits would also have an opportunity to take 15 credit hours of online courses to complete the 60 total hours to earn an Applied Science associate’s degree. The program also applies to officers who already finished basic training. Nearly 300 recruits go through DOCJT’s basic training academy every year, per a news release. 

Flickr/Creative Commons/James Case

The Kentucky State Police agency says it’s not taking a position for, or against, a new law that allows citizens to carry a concealed firearm without a permit.  KSP is, however, issuing some advice. 

KSP is encouraging Kentuckians to do some homework before traveling to other states.  The new law may not apply elsewhere, and if stopped by police in other states, Kentuckians could be subject to arrest.  Sergeant Josh Lawson says most, if not all, of Kentucky’s surrounding states still require a permit for concealed carry.

Ryland Barton

Attorney General Andy Beshear says Kentucky State Police illegally restricted a poverty group’s access to the state Capitol building during a series of protests last month.

State troopers only allowed two members of the Poor People’s Campaign to enter the Capitol at a time after a series of recent protests, including a demonstration where 17 people spent the night in the building after business hours.

But a legal opinion published by the attorney general’s office said that Kentucky State Police and the Finance and Administration Cabinet didn’t create the policy using the proper procedure.

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Kentucky State Police officers are teaming up with the federal government to collect unused and outdated prescription medications.

Saturday is National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, and drop-off locations will be set up at locations across the commonwealth.

State Police spokesman Josh Brashears says it’s opportunity to get rid of medications that could be accidentally ingested by children, stolen, or misused.

“Any kind of solid dosage units—pills or liquid cough syrup, anything like that, we can accept and safely dispose of that.”

Ryland Barton

Citing “increasing public interest and media attention,” Kentucky State Police on Wednesday announced the creation of a dedicated unit to investigate police shootings across the state.

The five-person Critical Incident Response Team will automatically investigate if a KSP officer is involved in a shooting and will lend its services to local jurisdictions by request.

Alex Payne, deputy commissioner for Kentucky State Police, said creating the unit was the “right thing to do” in response to societal pressures.

Flickr/Creative Commons/Dave Connor

Officials with the Kentucky State Police have no plans at this time to purchase body cameras for their troopers.

The issue of equipping law enforcement officers with body cameras has gained increased national attention following several high-profile deaths of unarmed African-Americans during encounters with police. KSP spokesman Paul Blanton says troopers were asked about the possibility of using body cameras after some field-tested the technology about three years ago.

“We had the troopers fill out a questionnaire to see if it was something that would assist them in doing their job, however that project has not moved forward into a next step.”

Blanton says while troopers largely responded favorably to using body cameras, the biggest concerns related to the technology are the costs, and how to store the large amount of video that would be recorded.

While state police aren’t equipped with body cameras, Blanton points out that about one-third of the agency’s troopers have cruisers with dash-mounted cameras that begin to record whenever the vehicle’s sirens are turned on. Those same troopers also wear body microphones that record audio of any encounters that take place after the cruiser’s sirens are engaged.

Kentuckians wanting to get rid of unused prescription medicines can drop them off this Saturday during a statewide “pill take back” program.

The partnership between Kentucky State Police and the Drug Enforcement Administration will include take-back locations at the KSP posts in Bowling Green, Columbia, Elizabethtown, and Henderson, as well as 12 other locations statewide.

Jonathan Meador

State lawmakers are expressing concern over the increasing militarization of local police departments in Kentucky and across the U.S., but legislative options to stem the unmitigated flow of military surplus gear to law enforcement agencies are unclear.

The joint Committee on Local Government heard testimony Wednesday from Pete Kraska, chair of Eastern Kentucky University graduate school of justice studies, and Rick Sanders, chief of Jeffersontown Police. They debated the merits and flaws of a controversial Department of Defense program known as “1033,” which hands out unused military gear to state and local law enforcement agencies around the country.

Kentucky Public Radio previously reported that since 2006 the 1033 program has disbursed tens of millions of dollars worth of military-grade gear to 100 Kentucky counties through a coordinator in the Kentucky State Police. The gear ranges from socks and boots to armored cars and assault rifles, all of it transferred with little to no state-level oversight or requisite training.

KSP

Since 2006, Kentucky law enforcement agencies have received armored cars, aircraft, automatic weapons and more from a U.S. military equipment transfer program that has come under fire in the wake of civil unrest in Ferguson, Missouri. 

Data, obtained from the Pentagon by The New York Times, identifies transfers of surplus military equipment from the U.S. Department of Defense's "1033 program,” which funnels surplus gear to state and local police departments, to 90 of Kentucky's 120 counties.

The records span from 2006 to May 2014, and place the value of the items—in various degrees of quality and offered for free to Kentucky agencies by the federal government—at about $38 million. Nationwide, the program has disbursed over $5 billion of equipment since its inception. 

The program has been scrutinized by civil liberties advocates, citizens and elected officials across the U.S., who have been critical of law enforcement's military-style response to protests in the Ferguson, a predominantly African-American suburb 12 miles north of St. Louis. The unrest occurred in the wake of the fatal police shooting of unarmed African-American teenager Michael Brown.

An investigation into the shredding of documents last year by the former director of the Kentucky Legislative Research Commission has concluded that no wrongdoing took place. Kentucky State Police spokesman Paul Blanton tells the Herald-Leader that no criminal act was found and that the case, in his words,  “is closed”.  

The investigation surrounded Bobby Sherman who returned to his office at the capitol last fall and destroyed documents just two days after he resigned.

Lawyers for two legislative staffers who brought sexual harassment allegations against former State Rep. John Arnold asked for the investigation.  They feared papers related to the case may have been among those destroyed.

Kentucky Speedway

The State Police has a message for a speedway in northern Kentucky: pay up.

KSP officials say the Kentucky Speedway owes nearly $300,000 for security provided at several major races

Records obtained through a Kentucky Open Records Act by the Courier-Journal show that—since at least summer--the KSP has been sending the speedway emails and letters requesting reimbursement. A letter sent in late December stated that the Kentucky Speedway owed a little over $299,000, and requested payment by mid-January.

KSP commander Rodney Brewer told the paper there hasn’t been any response to the letters or recent phone calls that were placed to the speedway. Brewer says he’s never before been in a position where someone with a contractual obligation with state police refused to pay.

The KSP commander says the money is owed under agreements the agency has with the speedway to provide uniformed troopers for security at events on speedway property.

KSP's Brewer Highlights Budget Woes

Feb 11, 2014
Kentucky State Police

Kentucky's top state trooper says his agency is suffering from a shortage in manpower.

Kentucky State Police Commissioner Rodney Brewer told a state House committee that years of flat lining budgets and a proposed 2.5 percent cut under Gov. Steve Beshear’s latest spending plan have put a squeeze on the agency.

Brewer says expenses in employee retirement, healthcare costs and fleet maintenance have led to layoffs.

“It caused us toward the end of last fiscal year to start making some reductions, and I was forced with the very difficult decision to lay off those troopers, which was extremely painful,” said Brewer.

Brewer says nearly two-thirds of KSP troopers make less than $50,000 per year.

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Kentucky State Police say they’re hoping to prevent residents from losing money in a telephone scam that’s shown up in other parts of the country.  Sgt. Michael Webb says criminals overseas are auto-dialing thousands of cell phones inside the U.S. and hanging up after just one-ring.  

He says the majority of those calls are coming from the Dominican Republic (809 area code), Jamaica (876), the British Virgin Islands (284), Grenada (473), Aruba (297) and Antigua (473).  

“We would certainly encourage folks that if they don’t have someone that they know in one of those area code and are not expecting a call from there, to not answer it and to screen phone calls from any unknown area code right now,” said Webb.

Sergeant Webb says if you see a “missed call” from an unknown area code, it’s not a good idea to return that call, or your account could be charged $20 for the call and $9 dollars each minute.  He also encourages people to check their phone bills for any unauthorized charges.

“They need to contact their cellular provider immediately if they find out that there are any unauthorized charges, said Webb. “ Especially for the overseas numbers that would be indicative of this phone scam.”

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