Wesley Dawson Hired as County’s First Community Safety Initiative Director

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Provided by Prince William County

Prince William County hired Wesley Dawson as the county’s first director of the Office of Community Safety. He will start with the county on Monday, June 26, 2023. 

Dawson comes to Prince William County from the City of Baltimore, where he worked in the Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Safety and Engagement, which focuses on violence prevention using holistic and public health-oriented strategies to improve community safety. 

Dawson most recently served as the Community Engagement Manager for the office, where he was responsible for establishing and maintaining healthy, trauma-informed, and supportive community relationships for the agency. He also was responsible for developing, implementing, evaluating, and monitoring all programmatic, grant management, and budgetary deliverables associated with agency community engagement and opportunity programs, including approaches to address gun violence and the root causes of health-related matters. 

Before that, Dawson worked for the District of Columbia as a special assistant and program analyst with the Department of Transportation, and as a constituent services coordinator with the Council of the District of Columbia. In those roles, he developed and implemented community engagement and outreach strategies in partnership with communities, from conceptualization to implementation. These initiatives encouraged community and institutional engagement through inter-agency and multi-sector partnerships. 

“Wesley brings critical and unique experience in community engagement, program development and evidenced-informed decision-making to the Office of Community Safety,” said Deputy County Executive for Public Safety Dan Alexander. “This is a key role in our Community Safety Initiative efforts, and with Wesley’s leadership, the county can continue to work with our citizens to improve the quality of life in every neighborhood, every day.”

“I believe that my community engagement and public safety experience align perfectly with the county’s Community Safety Initiative goals,” said Dawson. “I am honored and excited by the opportunity to lead Prince William County’s CSI efforts and to build impactful programs that will drive meaningful change in the community.” 

Prince William County’s CSI program will focus on prevention, intervention, education and diversion strategies to be more proactive in addressing safety concerns within the community. The initiative uses data and active community engagement to determine strategic priorities and focused action plans that are holistic, evidence-informed, equitable and inclusive. This approach will involve four key elements: 1) stakeholders from multiple sectors to drive the CSI process, 2) trusted messengers and practitioners to ensure effective citizen engagement and service delivery, 3) approaches to safety that are driven by data, and 4) practices which are rooted in an understanding of how trauma affects all people and the larger community.  

The Board of County Supervisors gave staff approval to move forward with the new CSI program in December 2022, to include creating two new positions, a director and a community safety administrator/data analyst, which is currently open for hire. The Board approved two additional positions in the Office of Community Safety as part of the FY2024 Budget.  

Dawson received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from Virginia Commonwealth University and a Master of Public Administration from George Mason University. 


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