New GA commissioner of driver services: “I’m not going to sacrif - CBS46 News

New GA commissioner of driver services: “I’m not going to sacrifice security for convenience”

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Bert Brantley, Georgia DDS Commissioner Bert Brantley, Georgia DDS Commissioner

The brand new commissioner of the agency that issues Georgia IDs tells CBS46 News his biggest challenge is to balance customer service with global security.

Bert Brantley took over the Georgia Department of Driver Services March 1. He’s well known in political circles as a strong communicator. The former Deputy Executive Director of the State Road and Tollway Authority once served as the communications director for former Gov. Sonny Perdue.

His ability to get messages out clearly is likely one of the reasons current Gov. Nathan Deal tapped him as the new commissioner of DDS, an agency that is undergoing some big changes in what it requires from Georgians seeking to obtain or renew driver’s licenses and other state-issued IDs.

"As people come in over the next couple of years, they're going to notice they need more documents,” Brantley said.

The changes are in advance of the federal ‘Real ID’ that states will be required to issue in the next few years. Brantley’s challenge is to make sure Georgians are aware of the stricter requirements so they won’t find themselves spending an entire day chasing down documents.

"I'm not going to sacrifice security for convenience," Brantley said.

Last month, Tamara Hidalgo, a U.S. citizen from Puerto Rico, was caught off guard. She told CBS46 News she was at a driver services office in Gwinnett County when a clerk took away all of her forms of identification, telling her they were suspected of being counterfeit. She felt humiliated, she said, adding that she was hospitalized afterward for panic attacks.

CBS46 News later learned that because of a recent pattern of counterfeit documents, DDS policy requires clerks to confiscate all questionable Puerto Rican documents so that agents can verify whether they are legitimate.

Hidalgo ended up getting her license.

When asked what could’ve been done differently in Hidalgo’s case, Brantley said, “I think we could've probably communicated a little bit better with her."

Brantley said customer service is crucial as investigators strive to make sure a customer’s identity is verified.

"It's a continual process,” he said. “We're not going to do everything perfect. I promise that. But I also promise that if we don't do things perfect, we're going to try our best to make things better."

Click here to learn about the requirements needed to obtain a license and find a DDS office near you.

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