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Captain Steve Richardson was one of 40 people selected from over 300 nominations to serve as a member of the 40 person Marcus Alert State Stakeholder Planning Group. He was one of the handful of law-enforcement professionals invited to serve in the group.
The “Marcus Alert” stands for “mental health awareness response and community understanding services.” It provides that the Department of Criminal Justice Services and the Department of Behavioral Health and Development Services coordinate and implement initiatives regarding mental health, substance abuse and emergency management. Captain Richardson is part of a work group that is specifically addressing specialized law enforcement response to individuals involved in a behavioral health crisis.
“It is an honor to be chosen as a stakeholder on the Marcus Alert State Planning Group, representing law enforcement, mental health partners, emergency 911 dispatchers, public safety and those suffering from mental illness in the Danville area as we work to improve the overall response to mental health emergencies in Virginia,” said Captain Richardson.
The Danville Police Department recognizes the importance of proper techniques addressing mental illness and in response; we have fully trained the department in crisis intervention. We have also implemented programs for victims of addiction, such as Community Opioid Response and Engagement (C.O.R.E).
The partnership with the Danville-Pittsylvania County Community Services Board and other community health partners will be key to aiding victims of mental illness, those with intellectual disabilities and those suffering from the disease of addiction as the Marcus Alert system is developed and implemented statewide.
Richardson recognizes the value of this invitation saying, “This appointment allows for positive momentum in Danville to be shared with other stakeholders and provides a voice for the region in planning for much needed improvements to ensure equitable and fair mental health responses throughout the Commonwealth.”
SB 5043: https://lis.virginia.gov/cgi-bin/legp604.exe?202+sum+HB5043
More on the planning group: https://www.vaco.org/vaco-and-vml-host-briefing-on-marcus-alert-implementation/