DPS budget cuts could possibly close driver's license exam sites - KSWO 7News | Breaking News, Weather and Sports

DPS budget cuts could possibly close driver's license exam sites

(Source KSWO) (Source KSWO)

CHICKASHA, OK (KSWO) - Big budget cuts may soon have Oklahomans in smaller towns driving up to 100 miles to apply for a license.

According to The Department of Public Safety, officials say they are facing a potential 15 percent budget cut. Those cuts would close 25 license exams sites across the state. In our area, that would include the ones in Altus and Chickasha.  The location here in Lawton is among those that would remain open.

Ervano Ware said it would be more than just an inconvenience to make the 90-mile round trip between Chickasha and Lawton. Ware said in addition to the extra gas money, the potential of waiting in a longer line once he gets there could mean taking an entire day off from work.

Ware and his family were at the Chickasha driver's license exam site getting an identification card. They live in Chickasha, so the drive was short, and so was the wait. They were finished in less than ten minutes. That won't be the case next time, if this site is shut down due to budget cuts.  

"It would be a real hassle you know," Ware said.

Public Information officer for the Oklahoma Highway Patrol and Department of Public Safety Trooper Dwight Durant said it's more than a hassle.  Closing the sites will mean hundreds of employees who work there will lose their jobs.

"We can't function as a department as a law enforcement without these individuals. They have given their heart and soul. it's somebody's parents or wife or husband and they have health insurance and they depend on this job," Durant said.

State law requires that DPS operates a license site at least every 100 miles, and those who work at the sites that remain open, will have to shoulder the extra work load.

"The fact that they even asked that is alarming because we have already cut all the fat. We have nothing left to cut except for payroll. Payroll is our biggest expense," Durant said.

Ware had one message for legislators.

"I would explain to them the situation, the wait time to get over there. I would talk to them and tell them to keep this place here because not only for the simple fact you save time in the long run," Ware said.

"Its a lose, lose, lose for everybody involved," Durant said.

Durant said the budget cuts could also lead to furloughs and cancellation of their trooper academies.

The legislature is still working on the details of the final budget, which must be approved before they close the session in May.  

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