The Marcus-David Peters Act

The Marcus Alert System

The Marcus Alert is named after Marcus-David Peters, a young, Black biology teacher; killed by Richmond police in 2018 amid a mental health crisis. The goal of the Marcus Alert is to provide a behavioral health response to behavioral health emergencies.

WHAT IS MARCUS ALERT?

Marcus Alert enhances services for people experiencing a crisis related to mental health, substance use, or developmental disability. Marcus Alert creates coordination between 911 and regional crisis call centers and establishes a specialized behavioral health response from law enforcement when responding to a behavioral health situation.

WHERE IS MARCUS ALERT NOW AVAILABLE?

The program is now available in 5 localities, one within each region of the State.

  • Western VA : Madison County, Fauquier County , Warrenton and Culpeper City (Rappahannock-Rapidan Community Services)
  • Northern VA : Prince William County (Prince William County Community Services)
  • Southwest VA: City of Bristol and Washington County including the Towns of Abingdon, Damascus, and Glade Spring (Highlands CSB)
  • Central VA : City of Richmond (Richmond Behavioral Health Authority)
  • Southeast VA: City of Virginia Beach (Virginia Beach Human Services )

The remaining cities and counties in Virginia have until July 1, 2026 to begin Marcus Alert.

WHAT HAPPENS NOW?

  • If you or a loved one make a call to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273- TALK) for a behavioral health crisis, you will be connected to the new regional crisis call centers.
  • The regional crisis call center staff are trained to assess calls for what type of intervention is needed. They offer services ranging from over the phone de-escalation to mobile crisis dispatch. In more severe cases, they will also coordinate with law enforcement to arrive on the scene.
  • Mobile Crisis Team – adult or youth
  • REACH Crisis Team (services those with developmental disabilities)
  • Mobile Co-Responder Team (includes Law Enforcement)
  • CIT Trained Officers
  • Other community response teams
  • As a last resort, traditionally trained Law Enforcement, EMS, and/or Fire may be dispatched to the scene.