Oklahoma is spending millions to expand its mental health crisis response system.
The money will provide iPads for law enforcement across the state, build new mental health centers and expand mobile crisis services.
The money Oklahoma saved from sending fewer people to prison was supposed to finance county mental health programs. But the Legislature has never sent any money to the fund and no rules have been written for how the money can be spent.
Vaccination rates in Oklahoma have been on an upswing in recent weeks, and state health officials hope the numbers reflect a growing willingness among the unvaccinated to get their shots and stave off an oncoming surge of new cases.
The Oklahoma Department of Human Services permanently shuttered dozens of offices over the last year in the face of the coronavirus pandemic and state budget cuts. The move left schools and law enforcement to fill the gaps in some rural parts of the state.