Sen. Ron Sharp carried the nomination last Thursday of long-time public safety officer Major Rusty Rhoades to serve as the Commissioner of Public Safety. The Senate Public Safety Committee approved the nomination unanimously.
“Major Rhoades has dedicated his life to serving the people of Oklahoma and improving public safety throughout the state,” said Sharp, R-Shawnee. “He will be a strong leader for the Department of Public Safety and we look forward to seeing his vision for how to strengthen and continue to improve public safety in our state.”
As the Commissioner, Major Rhoades will command the Oklahoma Highway Patrol and also serve concurrently as the Governor’s Cabinet Secretary for Safety and Security. As a member of the Cabinet, Major Rhoades will be responsible for directing all state public safety and corrections agencies.
Billy D. “Rusty” Rhoades III is an Oklahoma Highway Patrol Major who has served the Department of Public Safety for 28 years in various areas. Since 2009, he has served as Zone Commander and is responsible for Field Operations in four Troops (Altus, Clinton, Guymon and Enid). He has also served as a Zone Commander for Oklahoma City, the State Capitol Complex and turnpikes.
Since 2006, Major Rhoades has also represented the Commissioner’s office as the DPS Legislative Liaison. He represented the Commissioner’s and Chief’s Offices at the State Capitol and served as a point of contact for state elected officials, legislative staff and the media.
Earlier in his career, he served as the Highway Patrol’s Liaison with the FBI Oklahoma City regarding national and international terrorism. His case work included both domestic and international terrorism matters including money laundering, fraud, and planning of terrorist events. He was also named the Infrastructure Protection Coordinator for the State Office of Homeland Security.
Other positions he has held include Auto Theft Investigator, FBI Gang/Violent Crimes Task Force member and Governor Security Detail.
His nomination must now be approved by the full Senate. Major Rhoades will succeed Michael Thompson who has served in DPS for 25 years.