ATLANTA (AP) — An Atlanta-area police chief was appointed by Georgia's governor Wednesday to head the state's insurance commission after the previous commissioner was indicted on federal charges.
Republican Gov. Brian Kemp announced that Doraville Police Chief John King will fill the office while predecessor Jim Beck's suspension continues.
King, a Brigadier General in the U.S. Army National Guard and native of Mexico, will be the first Hispanic statewide constitutional officer in Georgia.
Kemp said during a news conference that King's integrity made him a leading choice during a difficult time for the commission, despite little experience in the insurance space.
"For me, number one, we had to have a person of very high integrity in the current situation that we're in," Kemp said, adding that he felt King was someone who could "restore trust."
Beck voluntarily suspended himself as insurance commissioner in May after being indicted on federal charges including wire fraud, mail fraud and money laundering. He's accused of devising an elaborate invoicing scheme to defraud his employer out of more than $2 million over a five-year period and of using some of the ill-gotten gains to fund his statewide election campaign.
A Republican elected to the post in November, Beck has declared his innocence and has been receiving a state salary while suspended.
According to a biography on the Doraville Police's website, King began his law enforcement career in 1985 with the Atlanta Police Department. He began working for Doraville police in 1993 as a detective, before being named police chief in 2002.
In his career with the National Guard, King previously served as Commander of the Macon-based 48th Infantry Brigade Combat Team and saw deployments to Bosnia, Iraq and Afghanistan. He is the recipient of a Bronze Star Medal.
Kemp also appointed Chief Magistrate Judge Joyette Holmes as Cobb County district attorney Wednesday. Holmes will be the first woman and first African American to fill the position. She takes over for Vic Reynolds, who was appointed director of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation in February by Kemp.