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Fallin names OHP commander as commissioner of public safety

Gov. Mary Fallin named an Oklahoma Highway Patrol zone commander for three OHP troops in western Oklahoma as the state's commissioner of public safety on Friday. His appointment will take effect Tuesday.

Maj. Billy D."Rusty" Rhoades III, of Choctaw, is zone commander for field operations for OHP's Troop M in Altus, Troop H in Clinton, Troop I in Guymon, and Troop J, 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.

"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," Fallin said in a news release. "He has the character and competence to lead the Department of Public Safety, and I'm proud to have him serve on my cabinet."

Rhoades, a 28-year-veteran of OHP, 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," Rhoades said. "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.

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