The Louisville Courier-Journal reported that the tweet was deleted a short time after a reporter from the newspaper called seeking a comment. The troopers' apology came soon afterward.
"The Kentucky State Police apologizes for the inappropriate tweet that appeared on our Twitter feed earlier tonight," the statement read. "Making light of sexual assault is never acceptable, and we apologize for the distress this tweet caused, particularly to the victims of these heinous crimes. KSP is committed to protecting against sexual assault and fighting for justice for victims. This tweet -- made by an individual employee -- does not represent KSP or our mission."
The initial tweet was not deleted in time to avoid people taking screenshots of it, and several people, including Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Grimes, spoke out against it.
"Rape & sexual assault are not joking matters," Grimes wrote on Twitter. "Citizens expect & deserve better of law enforcement. An apology to victims everywhere from @kystatepolice is needed."
Grimes later thanked state police officials for the apology.
Another person wrote that he regularly tries to defend police officers to friends who don’t trust law enforcement, but that the offensive tweet “doesn’t help.”
“If you drink and drive, KSP will see to it that you are imprisoned and sexually assaulted,” the tweet read. “This is not a good message. Sexual assault is not a joke.”
The troopers' statement did not indicate if the employee who tweeted the joke was being disciplined. Bernis Napier, a spokesman with the Kentucky State Police, told the Courier-Journal that he had no comment.