DBHDS Awards G4S Contract

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DATE: MAY 7, 2019
Maria Reppas


RICHMOND, VA – The Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services (DBHDS) announced today that it intends to award G4S with a $7 million, two-year contract, with an option for extension, for the statewide provision of transportation services for people experiencing a mental health crisis and are under a temporary detention order (TDO) and have been clinically assessed to be appropriate for such transportation. “Alternative transportation” will fundamentally change how children and adults under a TDO are transported from the evaluation site to inpatient psychiatric treatment.

Currently, most individuals who are being transported to inpatient treatment under a TDO are placed in a law enforcement vehicle and may be handcuffed even though the vast majority of individuals committed no crime. G4S will be providing alternative transportation services using unarmed, specially trained drivers in secure, unmarked vehicles. The result is a safe and secure transportation that is trauma informed and focused on the individuals’ recovery and engagement in treatment.

“When a person is experiencing a mental health crisis, we should do all we can to reduce additional trauma and stigmatization,” said Governor Ralph Northam. “Alternative transportation has been shown to do just that for individuals in need, while also alleviating local law enforcement who currently undertake this important task.”

“An individual experiencing a mental health crisis, especially one under a TDO, is already in an intensely stressful situation,” said Secretary of Health and Human Resources Daniel Carey, MD. “This trauma-informed approach will help reduce the impact of that and promote potential paths for recovery.”

“The current practice in Virginia of transporting people in need of involuntary hospitalization can intensify trauma and make them less likely to engage in treatment in the future,” said DBHDS Commissioner S. Hughes Melton, MD. “This new alternative transportation program is an exciting and significant step forward in how we treat people in crisis who need involuntary hospitalization.”

Alternative transportation also has the benefit of alleviating burden on law enforcement, who are currently providing nearly all of the statewide transportation services of people under a TDO. Based on inpatient psychiatric bed availability, the roundtrip may take hours for the transporting officer. Law enforcement will continue to be valuable partners in this process and will transport individuals who do not meet criteria for alternative transportation due to safety concerns.

G4S will provide alternative transportation to an estimated 50 percent of all TDOs in Virginia during the contract period. In FY18, there were over 25,000 TDOs and it is estimated that law enforcement transported 99 percent of these individuals. This number includes both children and adults. The new alternative transportation services will be available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

"We look forward to a positive and beneficial partnership with DBHDS," said Andrew Bedlack Executive Vice President of Health Care for G4S Secure Solutions (USA). "We understand the value of having access to safe, secure and timely transportation that allows patients who are experiencing a mental health crisis get the help they deserve. We believe providing this specialized service allows local law enforcement resources to be redirected to other priorities.”

G4S has experience providing alternative transportation in other states and DBHDS has evaluated these services closely. G4S will implement a regionally based transportation service throughout Virginia with state oversight and a workforce of providers specifically trained to provide this type of service to individuals in a behavioral health crisis.

Expansion of alternative transportation has been a priority recommendation of the Joint Subcommittee to Study Mental Health Services in the Commonwealth in the 21st Century.


  • Virginia law requires a magistrate issuing an emergency custody order (ECO) or temporary detention order (TDO) to specify a law enforcement agency that will provide transportation of a person to the location for evaluation or temporary detention. The law allows the magistrate to consider transportation other than by law enforcement if identified by the community services board (CSB) evaluator. (2018 Budget Language)
  • In 2015, DBHDS established a pilot program with Mount Rogers Community Services Board (CSB) in southwest Virginia to provide alternative transportation for adults and children under a TDO. DBHDS contracted with Steadfast Security, LLC to transport individuals. Over the 12 month pilot period, 40 percent of individuals were transported using alternative transportation services, which provided relief to law enforcement. Every individual in the pilot program was transported safely and securely.
  • In 2018, the General Assembly appropriated $7 million to expand alternative transportation services statewide.
  • The new alternative transportation program will begin in summer 2019.
  • Eligible drivers must pass a criminal background check as performed by G4S. Additionally, eligible drivers will receive 80 hours of classroom and –pre-assignment training, which will include lessons such as understanding behavioral health services, supporting and supervising individuals in crisis, human rights and Crisis Intervention Team training.

About Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services
The Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services seeks to promote dignity, choice, recovery, and the highest possible level of participation in work, relationships, and all aspects of community life for individuals with mental illness, developmental disabilities or substance-use disorders. DBHDS operates 13 state facilities and partners with 40 locally-run community services boards and hundreds of private providers statewide. For more information, please visit
www.dbhds.virginia.gov, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn.

About G4S

G4S is the leading global, integrated security company, specializing in the provision of security services and solutions to customers. Our mission is to create material, sustainable value for our customers and shareholders by being the supply partner of choice in all our markets.

With five decades of experience, G4S is a leader in healthcare security and safety. G4S serves the needs of the largest hospital systems in the United States. G4S is a long-standing member of the International Association for Healthcare Security and Safety (IAHSS) and works with large clients to complete Joint Commission surveys and achieve accreditation.

G4S is quoted on the London Stock Exchange and has a secondary stock exchange listing in Copenhagen. G4S is active in around 90 countries and has around 546,000 employees. For more information on G4S, visit www.g4s.us.