Kentucky police defends offensive ‘our colour is grey, our gender is trooper’ slogan
Kentucky State Police has received a wave of backlash after changing its Facebook cover photo to a picture with the slogan: “Our colour is grey, our gender is trooper”.
The cover photo, which was posted on the Kentucky State Police (KSP) Facebook page on Tuesday (4 May), received thousands of negative comments and shares for being “tone deaf” and anti-trans.
The Courier Journal reported the KSP cover photo received over 5,600 comments and nearly 4,000 shares before it was replaced on Wednesday (5 May) morning. The news outlet said one person commented that the photo was “tone deaf nonsense” and showed the force “finds using play on words at the expense of POC and trans (folks) acceptable”.
Another person, who identified themselves as a trans woman, said she was “glad I don’t live in Kentucky” because the photo was “so freaking cringe it’s not even funny”. She added: “KSP y’all need to reevaluate this.”
Chris Hartman, the executive director of LGBT+ advocacy organisation the Fairness Campaign, told the Herald-Leader he was “disgusted by this image”, which he said is “pretty clearly racist and transphobic”. He added the photo is evidence of “deep-rooted problems” within the KSP.
“What they’ve done is wrong, and they need to apologise,” he said.
The Kentucky State Police changed the cover photo back to a previous 2017 image of three troopers by Wednesday morning. But Sergeant Billy Gregory, a spokesman for the KSP, told the Courier Journal that the KSP had “used the phrase” over the past 25 years to “demonstrate that the agency is committed to racial and gender inclusivity”.
He argued in an email sent on Wednesday that the force was “unaware of any concerns raised about the phrase”.
“Given that KSP is committed to providing professional services to everyone in the commonwealth and is actively pursuing a diverse workforce, we look forward to discussing and learning more about the concerns raised today,” he said.
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This isn’t the first time the KSP has used the “our color is gray” and “our gender is trooper” motto. The force featured the slogan during a 2016 advertising campaign and in various tweets on the KSP’s social media.
— KY State Police (@kystatepolice) July 16, 2016
— KY State Police (@kystatepolice) October 11, 2017
The Kentucky State Police has also faced criticism over the revelation the force used training materials that quoted Adolph Hitler and Confederate general Robert E Lee. The Guardian reported in 2020 that the KSP reported used the training materials reportedly to create “ruthless” warriors who would “fight to the death” and “meet violence with greater violence”.
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