​Marcus Alert, sometimes called the Marcus David-Peters Act, is a law passed by the Virginia General Assembly in 2020 that directs localities throughout the Commonwealth to "develop and establish a mental health awareness response and community understanding services (Marcus) alert system." 

The law is named in honor of Marcus David-Peters, a high school biology teacher who was killed by a police officer in Richmond while experiencing a behavioral health crisis in 2018.

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

The Marcus Alert framework can be distilled down to four fundamental goals:

  • Limiting the involvement of law enforcement officers (to the safest extent possible for all parties)
  • Diverting individuals away from the criminal justice system and instead to resources and supports for treatment and recovery
  • Achieving positive outcomes for individuals experiencing a mental health crisis
  • Increasing awareness and understanding of available mental health resources in our community