DPS continuing to struggle with backlogs, low staff and frustrated Oklahomans

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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – The Department of Public Safety continues to struggle with backlogs of Oklahomans who are unable to get appointments.  

“This is not necessarily a new problem. We did have backlogs even before the pandemic. It makes a problem that was maybe just slightly annoying before a serious problem now,” said Sarah Stewart, with DPS.

Stewart says there are three main problems causing the slow downs.  

Because of the pandemic, fewer people are allowed inside in order to maintain social distancing measures.  

Budget cuts mean fewer staff is available to fill vacant driver’s license examiner positions and the rollout of the ‘Real ID’ is also backing up appointments.  

For some Oklahomans, the backups are more than just annoying.  

Lorie Sherry drove to Oklahoma City from Chickasha after waiting for 12 hours and getting turned away two days in a row.  

“Hopefully, I’ll get my driver’s license, and I’ll keep my job,” said Sherry.  

Sherry says without a renewed license, she is in danger of losing her job.

Many other Oklahomans are also frustrated and fearful, unable to make an appointment with DPS.  

“I don’t know what to do now. I can’t take off work to get a license, wait in line all night and hope that I get in,” said Robert Williams.  

Robert Williams says he’s been trying to get his license renewed since December with no luck.

“What happens if I get pulled over? I’ve been trying for two months to get this. I don’t understand why they can’t staff it. I pay taxes, I pay extra or the CDL,” he said.  

Stewart says unfortunately, the best option is still to try and get an appointment ahead of time or to wait in line.  

New appointments go online each night at 6 p.m. here.

She says DPS is working on solutions like extending business hours or opening on Saturdays, but these have not yet happened.  

“We are just as frustrated as they are and that we hear their frustrations. We know there is frustration out there and we literally are working around the clock to come up with all solutions to fix all problems,” said Stewart.  

For more information, you can visit DPS’ website.

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