​The Marcus-David Peters Act

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The Marcus-David Peters Act aims to provide a behavioral health response to behavioral health emergencies. The Act also intends to reduce adverse outcomes involving the “use of force” in law enforcement interactions when experiencing a behavioral health crisis related to mental health, substance use, or developmental disability.

The bill was primarily the result of an advocacy effort led by the family of Marcus-David Peters, a young, Black biology teacher; killed by Richmond police in 2018 amid a mental health crisis. Access the entire Marcus-David Peters Act here.

State Implementation of The Act

Five initial areas will be implementing the series of protocols and ensuring community coverage by mobile crisis or community care teams by December 2021.
These initial five partners are:

  • Region 1: Orange, Madison, Culpeper, Fauquier and Rappahannock Counties (Rappahannock-Rapidan Community Services)
  • Region 2: Prince William County (Prince William County Community Services)
  • Region 3: City of Bristol and Washington County including the Towns of Abingdon, Damascus, and Glade Spring (Highlands CSB)
  • Region 4: City of Richmond (Richmond Behavioral Health Authority)
  • Region 5: City of Virginia Beach (Virginia Beach Human Services)

Equity at Intercept 0 (Intercept 0) refers to the Sequential Intercept Model, which indicates different “intercepts” or points of contact where individuals with behavioral health disorders come in contact with the criminal justice system. The intercepts are also opportunities to target community resources that will decrease encounters with the criminal justice system.

Intercept 0 is at the community level before there is any engagement with criminal justice. Investment into community behavioral crisis supports requires an equity lens, particularly regarding race, as verified racial disparities exist in access to behavioral health and the overall behavioral healthcare system.

The seven identified goals of the initiative are:

  1. Support mutually beneficial partnerships between the public crisis call centers/hubs and community-based crisis providers to build public and private capacity for culturally competent response options to achieve statewide 24/7 coverage
  2. Create pathways to participation in the statewide crisis response system for Black, Indigenous, or Person of Color (BIPOC) owned/led and peer owned/led crisis service businesses
  3. Create training and career pathways to participation in the statewide crisis response system for behavioral health academic training programs, with a focus on Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) -based programs
  4. Provide professional development and supports for crisis service training with a focus on anti-racism, disability justice, and language access for both public and private crisis providers
  5. Analyze race-based and other health disparities in crisis services in Virginia and provide yearly recommendations for strategies to increase access and decrease disparities
  6. Cultivate and define a statewide Black-led crisis coalition for ongoing engagement with Marcus Alert implementation and the broader crisis system transformation
  7. Support the development of additional projects ensuring that equity is a central consideration in planning, oversight, and evaluation of the success of the Marcus Alert system

Red=Marcus Alert Blue=Equity at Intercept 0 project, STEP-VA/Behavioral Health Mobile Crisis

Marcus Alert Resource Toolkit

This list of resources is a collection of best practices to assist localities in the development of their local plans. This list will continually be updated as more information becomes available. (Last Updated November 1, 2021)

Resources for Developing Local Protocols

Protocol 1

  • Tip Sheet: Things to Consider (coming soon!)

Protocol 2

  • Tip Sheet: Things to Consider (coming soon!)

Protocol 3


Developed from Stakeholder Group

For additional information, please email marcusalert@dbhds.virginia.gov