Department of Human Services hosting listening sessions seeking public input on implementation of Marcus Alert System

Virginia Beach

FILE – In this June 2, 2018, file photo, marchers for Marcus-David Peters shout as they head to Richmond Police Headquarters from VCU’s Siegel Center in Richmond, Va. Around the U.S., protesters have been calling for prosecutors to take a second look at police killings of Black people, including Peters. Peters was shot May 14 by a Richmond police officer after a confrontation on Interstate 95. (Daniel Sangjib Min/Richmond Times-Dispatch via AP, File)

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — Community members are invited to two virtual listening sessions seeking public feedback on the implementation of the Marcus Alert legislation.

The Department of Human Services (DHS) is hosting the listening sessions seeking input from community members especially those who have firsthand experience with mental health or substance use disorders, developmental disabilities, law enforcement involvement, temporary detention, or emergency custody as an individual or family member.

Below are the schedules for the events:

  • 11 a.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 25 – Click here to register.
  • 6 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 2 – Click here to register.

The bill, approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee Thursday in 2020, is named after Marcus-David Peters, a 24-year-old Black man and high school biology teacher who was killed by a police officer in Richmond while he was undergoing a mental health crisis in 2018.

DHS Deputy Director for Behavioral Health & Developmental Services Angela Hicks says it is important to hear from individuals who have vested interest in the response model.

This could include, but is not strictly limited to:

  • Who should respond when someone calls for help during a behavioral health crisis (mental health clinicians, peer specialists, law enforcement, a combination of supports, or others)?
  • What type of response you would want for yourself or your loved ones during a behavioral health emergency?
  • Where teams should respond (like homes, schools or other community locations)?
  • What would make you feel more comfortable reaching out for help early on?
  • What kind of follow-up or ongoing supports would be helpful to individuals who enter our services while in crisis?

Virginia Beach is one of the first communities in Virginia, to implement the system. By July 1, 2026, all community services boards and behavioral health authorities throughout Virginia will need to establish a Marcus Alert system.

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