OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Law enforcement in Oklahoma is given multiple options to handle mental health related calls, according to the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse (ODMHSAS).
“I promise that we have the services for people to access and become well,” said Jeff Dismukes, Communication Director for ODMHSAS.
The Comprehensive Crisis Response program is a network of urgent cares, hospitals, mental health professionals, and law enforcement, working to ensure mental health services are provided to Oklahomans.
Dismukes said ODMHSAS handed out over 11,000 iPads for members of the network. Those iPads provide access to mental health needs and transportation for Oklahomans experiencing a mental health crisis.
Members of the Norman community wondered why these services were not employed by Norman Police Department during the arrest of Shannon Hanchett, who owned Okie Baking Co., also known as the “Cookie Cottage.”
Dismukes was unable to confirm that the resource iPads are used by Norman officers.
KFOR has asked Norman PD about the iPads multiple times but have not received an answer.
Police said when the responding officer arrived, Hanchett was “exhibiting behavior that was consistent with some type of mental health disorder.”
However, in the body cam video, the officer never discussed mental health services with Hanchett.
Norman PD later stated that Hanchett did not get sent to Griffin Memorial Hospital or other crisis centers because she did not meet the criteria for protective custody.
Dismukes said the biggest factor police look for is if a person is a danger to oneself or others.
KFOR asked Oklahoma City Police and Edmond Police about their mental health response services.
Both departments said they utilize the iPads.
A spokeswoman for Edmond Police said the department has a sergeant that takes mental health related calls full time.
Dismukes wants the conversation around mental health to continue because Oklahoma is faced with serious challenges.
“We have high rates of mental illness and addiction in this state,” said Dismukes. “We talk about the consequences and the problems associated with that. Let’s really focus in on these solutions that we have right now and take advantage of it and celebrate what we’re doing here.”
ODMHSAS has a map of available crisis centers across the state.