Additional workers will be added to Temple and Killeen Department of Public Safety driver’s license offices in an effort to decrease long wait times, local legislators announced Thursday.
The Temple DPS office, located at 6612 S. General Bruce Drive, will be hire two additional full time employees with the money received by the state. All counters at the facility are expected to be completely staffed by Sept. 1, said state Rep. Hugh Shine, R-Temple.
The Killeen driver’s license office at 5100 W. Elms Road will receive two to three more positions to aid the staff of 16. The office in Lampasas will add one full-time employee, said state Rep. Brad Buckley, R-Salado.
The improvements come as a result of increased funding approved by the Texas Legislature during the last legislative session.
“During the legislative session, I heard from folks throughout Bell County who were frustrated by long wait times at the county’s driver license offices, an issue many of my colleagues in the Texas House saw in their own districts as well,” Buckley said in a news release.
“My fellow colleagues on the House Appropriations Committee agreed that a statewide solution was necessary, and I am proud to have played a part in providing state funds for much-needed improvements for DPS driver license offices throughout the state, and especially for my friends and neighbors in House District 54.”
The Fort Hood driver’s license office at 69005 T.J. Mills Boulevard will also receive additional employees, Buckley said. The one on Fort Hood is currently staffed by one to two employees on a rotational basis, but with the improvements, it will add two to three additional employees and another workstation, according to the release.
The bill has also set aside additional funds for online appointment software that will help cut down on wait periods at the office. About 53 percent of those who go to a DPS office are eligible to complete transactions online, Shine said.
Shine said he was pleased that money was allocated for DPS driver’s license offices since he has been working on this issue for the past three years in the Texas Legislature.
“I have been working on this for the past three years, trying to get some relief for us,” Shine said. “The driver’s license department is going to be adding 713 employees statewide. Temple is going to end up with all of the stations full manned.”
DPS plans to move local troopers in Temple and Killeen into a new consolidated law enforcement office in Belton. Once the troopers exit the Temple building, Shine said, he hopes to work towards opening up more spaces in the Temple office.
More improvements can be implemented once the space is clear, he said.
Legislators have also approved pay increases for DPS workers to help with retention. The raises went into effect in July, Shine said.
The statewide bill affects all DPS offices according to their needs, enabling some offices to hire more new staff than others, Buckley said.