Albemarle program seeks to improve responses to mental health calls
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - A pilot program is brining together several services in Albemarle County to help improve responses to calls into 9-1-1.
“This response model offers an opportunity for law enforcement, behavioral health, emergency services to work together,” Albemarle County Public Information Officer Bridgette Butynski said. “The Human Services Alternative Response Team, or HEART, is a joint pilot program of Albemarle County Fire Rescue, Albemarle County Police Department, and the Albemarle County Department of Social Services with the purpose of responding to 911 calls.”
Butynski says this new program provides an alternative for how to deal with someone going through a mental health or drug-related crisis.
It was created to fill in for the Marcus Alert System, a service named after Marcus David Peters, who was killed by Richmond police while dealing with a mental health crisis of his own.
The Marcus Alert System is several years away from being implemented, however HEART is set to launch sometime in late June.
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