Karl O'Callaghan joined the Western Australia Police as a 17-year-old Police Cadet in December 1973. He graduated as Dux of the Police Academy in January 1976.
In 2004 he was appointed Police Commissioner and given the special additional task of implementing the reforms of the Kennedy Royal Commission. Since that time he has overseen and implemented widespread cultural, business and process change in the Western Australia Police. He has also championed the Frontline First policing direction and has reintroduced a 'back to basics' reassurance style of policing.
Commissioner O'Callaghan has a Bachelor of Education with 1st Class Honours and in 1998 he became the first police officer in the history of the Western Australia Police to complete a PhD.