Fairfax-Falls Church Community Services Board

CONTACT INFORMATION: Emergency - 703-573-5679 / Detox - 703-502-7000 (24/7)
703-383-8500 TTY 711
8221 Willow Oaks Corporate Drive
Fairfax, Virginia 22031
Daryl Washington
Executive Director

Marcus Alert


What is Marcus Alert?

Marcus Alert is the name commonly used for the Marcus-David Peters Act, the Virginia law that requires 9-8-8, crisis call centers, law enforcement and behavioral health agencies to work together to improve responses to individuals in behavioral health crisis in Virginia communities. The Act was named for Marcus-David Peters, a young, black biology teacher killed by Richmond Police in 2018 during a mental health crisis. The law was enacted in 2020 and amended during the 2022 General Assembly Session (§ 9.1-193 and § 37.2-311.1). The State Plan for the Implementation of the Marcus-David Peters Act includes three protocols for localities to adopt:

  1. Divert behavioral health calls from the 9-1-1 public safety system to 9-8-8 Regional Crisis Call Centers
  2. Formalize agreements between law enforcement and mobile crisis teams
  3. Develop specialized law enforcement responses to behavioral health related events


What is the Connection Between Marcus Alert and 9-8-8?

Marcus Alert is a statewide initiative while 9-8-8 is a national initiative.

The Marcus Alert Law in Virginia complements 9-8-8 by:

  • Requiring various agencies in Virginia to work together (9-1-1, crisis call centers located regionally, law enforcement, and behavioral health agencies) to provide appropriate behavioral health responses in their community. The federal roll out of 9-8-8 in July 2022 recognized the need for 9-1-1 and other local crisis response resources to complement 9-8-8. The Marcus Alert legislation in Virginia supports and complements the federal 9-8-8 infrastructure.
  • Ensuring the existing 9-8-8 Centers in Virginia also serve as Regional Crisis Call Centers, capable of deploying Regional Mobile Crisis Teams for in-person support in Virginia communities when appropriate.

PRS, Inc., a current 9-8-8 Center, serves as the 9-8-8 Regional Crisis Call Center provider in Northern Virginia. The Community Services Board (CSB), PRS, Inc., and public safety partners are collaborating on Marcus Alert and behavioral health crisis responses in our area.


How Do 9-1-1, Law Enforcement, 9-8-8 and Behavioral Health Agencies Work Together?

A Triage Framework is used across Virginia and locally to facilitate communication between multiple state and local agencies including 9-1-1, crisis call centers, law enforcement and behavioral health agencies. This framework establishes a shared language that is used across the crisis response system. Behavioral health situations are identified as one of the four levels below with responses in each level based on available community resources.

Marcus Alert Graph


What is the Marcus Alert Implementation Timeline?

Fairfax County was in the second phase of statewide Marcus Alert implementation with implementation in Summer 2023. Marcus Alert protocols are being phased in across the Commonwealth through 2028.


How Did Responses to Behavioral Health Situations Change with Marcus Alert Locally? 

On June 28, 2023, the 9-8-8 Regional Crisis Call Center, required in the Marcus Alert law, was incorporated into the local behavioral health crisis response system and began assisting people interacting with public safety agencies who have non-emergency behavioral health needs. The 9-8-8 Regional Crisis Call Center provides phone support and resources, and deploys mobile crisis teams to people desiring in-person support. Public safety agencies in Fairfax County now use the Triage Framework to communicate and coordinate with the Regional Crisis Call Center or behavioral health clinicians whenever feasible.

In Fairfax County, Marcus Alert protocols are aligned with existing initiatives in the County including Diversion First, and the Co-Responder Program, an existing partnership between Fairfax County Police Department and the Fairfax-Falls Church CSB that pairs a Crisis Intervention trained police officer with trained clinical staff to respond to behavioral health related 9-1-1 calls in the community.

a smiling mental health worker gives her card to a woman seated on a bench while a police officer looks on
Fairfax County’s Co-Responder Program is a partnership between the Police Department and the CSB. The program pairs a Crisis Intervention Team trained police officer with a CSB crisis intervention specialist to respond to calls related to behavioral health issues. The Co-Responder Program aligns with other Fairfax County initiatives, including the Diversion First continuum of services.


Want to Help and Stay Informed?

  1. Create a free emergency health profile. When calling 9-1-1 during an emergency or crisis, your vital health and medical information (including behavioral health related information) can help first responders.
  2. Stay informed on Diversion First and Behavioral Health Crisis Response initiatives in the county.


Fairfax County Resources

  • CSB Emergency Services, Open 24/7: 703-573-5679
  • CSB Detox Services, Open 24/7: 703-502-7000
  • Suicide & Crisis Hotline/Regional Crisis Call Center, Open 24/7: 9-8-8 or 703-527-4097, or Text “Connect” to 85511
  • Peer Recovery Centers at four sites across the Fairfax County, including the Sharon Bulova Center. Call 1-800-374-4198 for services, hours, and locations
  • Coordinated Services Planning (Emergency assistance for basic needs, food assistance, emergency shelter, etc.), Open M - F, 8:00 - 4:30 p.m., 703-222-0880


Fairfax County Mental Health Crisis Services

If you are concerned about yourself or someone else, you are not alone. Help is available right now. There are trained mental health professionals available to assist you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, every day of the year.

Access an informational brochure about assistance for concerns related to mental health, substance use or suicidal thoughts.

Fairfax Virtual Assistant