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Oklahoma governor reappoints Rhoades as safety commissioner

Oklahoma Department of Public Safety Commissioner, and former Oklahoma Highway Patrol Maj. Billy D. "Rusty" Rhoades, pictured, in this undated photo. (Oklahoma Highway Patrol)

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) – Gov. Kevin Stitt is reappointing the commissioner of public safety following an investigation at the agency that led to a criminal charge against a Highway Patrol captain.

Stitt announced Friday he was reappointing Rusty Rhoades as the Commissioner of Public Safety, the same post he held under former Gov. Mary Fallin.

“I appreciate the diligent investigation that the Attorney General’s office conducted and the thorough cooperation of Rusty Rhoades and his staff,” said Stitt. “Rusty told me he is committed to implementing the recommendations from the Attorney General’s office, and I appreciate his transparency and professionalism during this process. I chose Commissioner Rhoades for his passion and commitment to the safety and protection of the people of Oklahoma. His years of experience with the Oklahoma Highway Patrol and the Department of Public Safety allow him to be a strong and effective leader. I will now be moving his appointment forward and look forward to his leadership in the Stitt administration.”

Stitt had put Rhoades’ appointment on hold while a grand jury investigated allegations of impropriety with the highway patrol’s process for promoting its officers.

Following its probe, the grand jury determined a patrol captain tried to blackmail Rhoades. Capt. Troy German was charged with one count of extortion and has pleaded not guilty.

“I am humbled by the confidence shown in me by Governor Stitt, the Oklahoma State Troopers Association, my colleagues at the Department, and my fellow Oklahoma law enforcement officers during this time,” said Rhoades. “My reappointment, coupled with the Governor’s recent selection of Chip Keating as Secretary of Public Safety, indicate this administration’s dedication to propelling Oklahoma rapidly to the forefront of cutting edge concepts in the safety and security arena. My administration continues to support the personnel in the field who dedicate their lives to protect and serve all Oklahomans, and I look forward to partnering with Governor Stitt to improve services and increase efficiency throughout the Department.”

Rhoades was not named to Stitt’s cabinet, a position he previously held under Fallin. Stitt named Chip Keating secretary of public safety earlier this week.

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