Commanders frequently rotate in and out of the Fairfax County Police Department’s McLean District Station, but the McLean Citizens Association always rolls out the welcome mat.
MCA board members on Nov. 3 invited the station’s latest commander and assistant commander – Capt. Wilson Lee and Lt. Scott Colwell, respectively – to address the association.
Lee said his top priorities include fighting crime by focusing on basic police work and ensuring the station’s officers are taken care of and developing themselves professionally.
“If we don’t take care of our officers, we can’t carry forward the mission,” he said.
Lee also aims to maintain and strengthen the station’s community relationships.
“Police can’t do it by ourselves,” he said. “We need you all’s help, especially now. We need everyone’s assistance to be our eyes and ears out there.”
The police department, like other county public-safety agencies, has had staffing shortages lately and is down more than 140 officers now, Lee said.
“That is not usual for us,” he said. “It is rather high.”
Starting Nov. 6, McLean District Station was set to receive augmented staffing. Because of staffing difficulties, some of the department’s officers who are assigned to specialized units have been returned to patrol duties, but that has not been the case at the McLean station, Lee said.
Regarding reported morale problems within the department, stemming from a variety of factors, “it is my belief that with time and fortitude, we will get past this and move forward and become a better department,” he said.
As far as the COVID pandemic’s impacts on the department, the majority of officers have been vaccinated and those who have not are being tested regularly, Lee said. Officers did more telephone work, as opposed to face-to-face interactions, during the pandemic, he added.
Originally from Hong Kong, Lee is a 13-year veteran of the county’s police force. He previously worked at the Reston and Mount Vernon district stations and was assistant commander of the West Springfield District Station.
Lee has served as a school-resource officer at Herndon Middle School; worked with the department’s Policy and Directives Change Team and its Planning and Research Bureau; was a police-liaison commander; and most recently was a duty officer at the Patrol Bureau.
Lee holds a bachelor’s degree in administration of justice from George Mason University and a master of Professional studies degree in security and safety leadership from George Washington University.
Colwell, a lateral transfer from the Virginia State Police, has worked for the county police department for 19 years and briefly introduced himself to the MCA board from his vehicle.
Colwell previously was assigned to McLean District Station as an officer and then was a detective in the Criminal Investigations Section. He subsequently was assigned to Mount Vernon District Station as a patrol officer and Criminal Investigations Section supervisor; worked at the department’s Internal Affairs Bureau and its Planning and Research Bureau; and was a police-liaison commander.
Colwell graduated from Indiana Wesleyan University with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice.