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(Oklahoma City) Governor Brad Henry has selected Kevin Ward as his Cabinet Secretary for Safety and Security. Ward has also been named Commissioner of the Department of Public Safety. He s\ucceeds Bob Ricks who resigned as Commissioner of the Department of Public Safety last fall. Ward was Assistant Commissioner under Ricks and has been serving as Interim DPS Commissioner since October 2003. The governor announced the cabinet appointment Friday saying Kevin Ward has the experience and is the right person for the job.

?I have great confidence in Kevin?s ability to lead the DPS and build consensus and cooperation among the agencies in the Safety and Security Cabinet,? said Gov. Henry. ?In these turbulent times we need no reminder of the importance of cooperation among agencies in the protection of our citizens.?

Ward began his law enforcement career in 1979 at the Bethany Police Department. He joined the Department of Public Safety in 1980 serving on the Governor?s Security detail before his appointment the Oklahoma Highway Patrol in 1985. Ward moved through the ranks of the patrol and on October 20, 2003, Governor Henry appointed him the Interim Commissioner of the Department of Public Safety.

?I appreciate the opportunity to become a part of Governor Henrys administration. Protecting the safety and security of the citizens of Oklahoma is the highest honor. I look forward to serving Governor Henry and the citizens of our state in this position,? said Ward.

Governor Henry also tapped Major Kerry Pettingill as Oklahoma Homeland Security Director. Pettingill joined the Oklahoma Highway Patrol in 1982 and was commander of the DPS Tactical Teams Special Operations and Bomb Squads. He was appointed as Deputy Director of Homeland Security in 2002, which included overseeing personnel assigned to the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force.

Albert Ashwood will be retained at Director of the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management (OEM). Ashwood has been Director of the OEM since his appointment in 1997. He has been with the agency fifteen years.

?Major Pettingill and Albert Ashwood have the experience and specialized skills to address our emergency management and homeland security needs during the continuing war on terrorism,? said Gov. Henry.

Ward and Ashwood?s appointment require senate confirmation.