INDIANAPOLIS | Indiana's SecureID program, which requires additional proof of identity before a Hoosier is issued a driver's license or identification card, was praised Monday by a U.S. Homeland Security official.

"Indiana has really been an outstanding leader in the process," said Darrell Williams, senior director of the office of state-issued identification support.

Williams said Indiana is one of 11 states in compliance with the federal REAL ID law. Under that 2005 law, all states must improve their security and document verification before issuing driver's licenses or ID cards. Americans holding a license or ID that does not comply with the mandates will be prohibited from boarding an airplane or entering a federal building, starting next year.

Williams spoke Monday to more than 75 state and local police officials, state workers and Bureau of Motor Vehicles employees at the BMV Security Symposium in Indianapolis. This was the second annual symposium focused on identity security.

BMV Commissioner Andy Miller said use of the SecureID requirements has reduced Indiana BMV fraud cases by half this year.

"We're doing everything we can at the Bureau of Motor Vehicles to protect Hoosiers' identity," Miller said.

The BMV has been using two new tools to do that: facial recognition technology and centralized distribution of licenses and IDs.

Hoosiers no longer receive a new license or ID at the license branch. Instead, pending new cards are now run through facial recognition software that compares the applicant's photo to the 5.6 million photos in the BMV database to determine whether an applicant already has a license or ID. New cards are then mailed in about three days.

"Your face is a fingerprint, and you can't trip up this system," Miller said.

Since January, the BMV has issued more than 620,000 new licenses or IDs through central issuance, with nearly 40 percent meeting SecureID requirements. Current license or ID holders can renew or replace their cards without meeting the stricter standard through 2014.

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