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Choctaw man named commissioner of public safety

Billy D. “Rusty”
Rhoades III

Governor Mary Fallin has named Oklahoma Highway Patrol Maj. Billy D. “Rusty” Rhoades III, of Choctaw, to serve as Oklahoma’s commissioner of public safety.
The announcement came Friday, Nov. 11, and his appointment takes effect Tuesday, Nov. 14.
Rhoades is a 28-year veteran of the Oklahoma Highway Patrol, and is currently serving as zone commander for field operations in Troop M, based in Altus; Troop H, based in Clinton; Troop I, based in Guymon; and Troop J, based in Enid.
Fallin also appointed Rhoades to serve as secretary of safety and security on her executive Cabinet.
His appointment to that position will require Senate confirmation during next year’s legislative session.
Rhoades succeeds Michael C. Thompson, whom Fallin appointed last month to serve as Oklahoma’s adjutant general and on her Cabinet as secretary of the military.
“I appreciate the confidence Governor Fallin has shown in me,” said Rhoades. “I will work to guide the Department of Public Safety to continued growth, while maintaining the strong traditions and standards of the agency. I intend to bring together and align the department around the common purpose of public safety and service to the public.”
Rhoades began his career with the patrol in 1989 as a patrolman with the Oklahoma Capitol Patrol. He served as a trooper in Mayes County in Troop L and in Oklahoma City in Troop A. He was assigned to the governor’s security detail for then-Gov. David Walters in 1994, and then later was assigned to serve on the FBI Gang/Violent Crimes Task Force and the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force.
He was promoted to lieutenant in 2003 and was assigned to the state Capitol where he was responsible for daily security operations. He was promoted to captain in 2006, and his duties included serving as legislative liaison for the Department of Public Safety. He was promoted to major in 2009.
“Major Rhoades has spent his life protecting the people of Oklahoma, and his reputation as a skilled and dedicated member of the Oklahoma Highway Patrol is well known,” said Fallin. “He has the character and competence to lead the Department of Public Safety, and I’m proud to have him serve on my Cabinet.”

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