CapitolBeatOK Staff Report
Oklahoma Governor-elect Mary Fallin this week selected Michael C. Thompson as her nominee for secretary of safety and security and commissioner of the Department of Public Safety. The incoming Republican chief executive’s selection of Thompson (who is a commander in the Highway Patrol, and a black man) soon earned the praise of a House Democrat who serves as chairman of the Legislative Black Caucus.
Thompson currently supervises OHP field commands in Lawton, Altus, Clinton, McAlester and Durant. He is also a colonel in the Oklahoma National Guard, where he serves as commander of the 90th Troop Command. If confirmed by the state Senate, he would be the first African-American to serve as either DPS commissioner or secretary of safety and security.
“Michael Thompson has dedicated his life to protecting the people of Oklahoma and the United States,” said Fallin. “I am happy to be given the opportunity to select a DPS commissioner whose competence and commitment to our state have been proven many times over.”
Thompson is a combat veteran who was awarded the Bronze Star and Combat Infantry Badge after two tours of duty in Iraq. He also received the Humanitarian Service Medal after his deployment to New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
Thompson earned a graduate degree in applied science from Oklahoma State University and a graduate degree in national security and strategic studies from the United States Army War College. He is also a graduate of both the FBI National Academy and the Secret Service National Threat Assessment Center. He received his undergraduate degree from Langston University.
“I am honored to have this opportunity to continue to serve the people of Oklahoma,” said Thompson. “I am looking forward to working with Governor-elect Fallin to keep our citizens safe.”
State Rep. Jabar Shumate of Tulsa praised Fallin for selecting Thompson. In a statement sent to CapitolBeatOK, Shumate said: “As chairman of the Legislative Black Caucus, I am very pleased that Governor-elect Fallin has chosen to make a historic appointment that increases diversity in state government. It is important that the leadership of our state includes individuals from all backgrounds, and I believe Michael Thompson is a proven leader with the clear ability to assume this important role.”