NORMAN, Okla. (KFOR) – The meeting comes after two women died while booked in the Cleveland County Detention Center in December. Advocates for the women argue that both deaths could have been avoided. 

“We’ve had two deaths at the county detention center that could have been prevented with better field diversion, better mental health evaluation by our officers, and better integration of our various mental health services,” said Kate Bierman. 

Shannon Hanchett, or Norman’s “Cookie Queen,” was arrested in late November. In their report, Norman PD noted she was “exhibiting behavior that was consistent with some type of mental health disorder.” 

She was booked into jail and found dead in her cell fewer than two weeks later. 

Kathryn Milano experienced a similar fate a few weeks later. 

“She was arrested by Noble PD for breaking into a neighbor’s house, was also experiencing a mental health crisis, and she also died at the Cleveland County Detention Center,” said Bierman. 

As Norman City Council looks for ways to help, Ron Sims, the Statewide Crisis Intervention Services, talked about 988. He explained that it’s a lifeline that can connect Oklahomans with trained behavioral health professionals. 

“You call that just like you would call 911,” said Sims. 

He said the line has been used in Norman since July 2022. 

“It’s in its infancy,” said Sims. “We just need to get the word out, so people understand that there is a place to call.”

Sims also talked about the benefits of equipping officers with iPads for when they come across a mental health issue. 

“The iPads have two buttons,” said Sims. “One button connects to a therapist and that therapist can help either do an emergency assessment or just talk to the person and recommend services or talk to the officer and make recommendations.” 

Norman Police say they currently have 46 of those iPads. They’ve requested 95 total and say they plan to have them rolled out March 1.