STURGIS | Sharon Lee flashed her best smile as South Dakota Driver’s License agent Jaycie Matthews captured the moment with another flash, this from a digital camera for Lee’s new state-issued identity card.
Lee was one of about 15 developmentally disabled adults receiving new ID cards Tuesday at the Black Hills Special Services Cooperative’s Owens-Miller Building in Pleasant Valley, east of Sturgis along Interstate 90.
With the logistical demands of transporting that many BHSSC adults to a driver’s license station, going through the required paperwork and standing in line, the BHSSC asked if the South Dakota Dept. of Public Safety could bring the ID card service to them.
“I was in awe that this could actually happen,” said Ronda Feterl, day program coordinator for Black Hills Special Services Cooperative, which provides educational services, including support for the developmentally disabled, for school districts in the Black Hills from Oelrichs, Edgemont, Hot Springs, Custer, Belle Fourche, Spearfish, Lead-Deadwood, Sturgis, Rapid City, Douglas and as far east as Haakon County.
Keeping their clients in familiar surroundings, rather than the public setting of an exam office, was important.
“This is an environment they are comfortable in,” Feterl said.
The need for new ID cards arose after BHSSC administrative assistant Tammy Drury began working with the cooperative’s developmentally disabled in a switch of banking services.
Since the developmentally disabled are unable to obtain a driver’s license, the alternative of a state-supplied ID card, with required photo and signature, was needed.
“That started it all,” Drury said. “We needed ID cards for banking because most of our people didn’t have them.”
Jane Schrank, of Pierre, director of South Dakota Driver Licensing for the state Dept. of Public Safety, said officials from BHSSC inquired about bringing a portable ID production system in to make ID cards.
“We happened to have a system for some of the rural counties, that do the photos and signatures for us,” Schrank said. “They brought it to Pierre and we brought it to Rapid City.”
On Tuesday, Shrank and two licensing station employees from Sturgis, Jaycie Matthews and Jaimie Glover, took digital photos and captured signatures for the ID cards, which were to be printed in Rapid City and either delivered or mailed back to the BHSSC.
The ID cards can be used as proof of identity for banking, insurance, even boarding a commercial airline flight, and are good for up to five years, or for 30 days following the bearer’s 21st birthday.
Schrank said Monday’s on-site ID card event was the first for the Dept. of Public Safety, which oversees the issuance of vehicle licenses and ID cards in the state.
The department had received similar requests from nursing homes as well, she said.
“I’m really pleased with it,” Schrank said. “It’s great we had a system and a staff available to get it done.”