Beshear receives law enforcement endorsements

Published 4:47 pm Wednesday, June 7, 2023

Tuesday afternoon, about a dozen current and former Kentucky law enforcement officers stood behind Gov. Andy Beshear at the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office to show their support.

They are members of Law Enforcement for Beshear, a group endorsing the governor for another four-year term.

The group is helmed by Hardin County Sheriff John Ward and Floyd County Sheriff John Hunt, who spoke about Beshear’s track record during his time as attorney general and governor.

In the past years, Beshear has “been nothing but impressive,” Hunt said.

“I have witnessed his ability to support law enforcement in the best of times and the worst of times,” he said. “His unwavering support for law enforcement has been evident throughout his tenure as attorney general and now as our governor.”

The news conference comes after Beshear’s general election opponent, Republican Attorney General Daniel Cameron, has called Beshear out for allegedly ignoring violent crime in big cities like Louisville, among other law enforcement-related criticisms.

Beshear said that under his administration, Kentucky has a lower crime rate than the national average and all but one of its border states.

He added that the commonwealth was one of eight states to significantly reduce its overdose deaths in 2022 and in the same year, achieved the lowest recidivism rate in its history.

“The current attorney general, though, says even though he’s under statute as the top law enforcement official and the top prosecutor, that he takes no responsibility for the current crime rate,” Beshear said. “Look, that’s not just wrong, that’s hiding from problems and blaming others. I’m going to tackle them head on.”

Beshear said he has leaned into problems instead of “abdicating responsibility.” For example, he said he pushed for a bill securing a $15,000 salary increase for all Kentucky State Police troopers, which went into effect July 2022.

Now, new troopers make a $55,000 starting salary, compared to the previous $40,000.

Sheriff Hunt said the raise “means the world” to KSP.

“It has resulted in one of the largest recruiting classes they’ve had in recent years,” he said. “And it helps to retain and recruit some of the best and brightest for that agency.”

The raise led to a “ripple effect” across Kentucky that “has led to higher pay for law enforcement in every corner of the commonwealth,” Beshear added.

In each of his budget proposals, Beshear said he has asked for the maximum funding – $4,600 – for the Kentucky Law Enforcement Foundation Program Fund, which annually pays officers who attend 40 hours of training.

In 2022, he signed a bill increasing the KLEFPF stipend from $4,000 to $4,300, and said he will continue pushing for more.

Hunt listed off some other acts demonstrating Beshear’s commitment to law enforcement, including fighting to protect law enforcement pensions during the Matt Bevin administration as attorney general.

Beshear’s other acts as attorney general include putting human traffickers behind bars, arresting a record number of child sex offenders, protecting seniors against scams and testing every single rape kit in the then-backlog.

In a highly partisan environment, Republicans are often seen as the party of law enforcement. Beshear wants to challenge that perception.

“I view today’s endorsements as a continuation of the good work of those that don’t run from the challenges that face our state, but run towards them,” he said. “Because at the end of the day, every Kentucky family deserves to feel safe. And that’s what I’m out there doing. That’s what these folks are out there doing as well.”