Dawson, 31, was taken into custody at 4:45 p.m. by county sheriff’s deputies following a phone call to the Sheriff’s Office reporting a domestic dispute in the 2000 block of Sand Point Road. According to the Sheriff’s Office, deputies arrived on the scene and found that a telephone had been pulled from the wall and that a physical altercation had occurred between Dawson and his wife Jessica. She sustained some bruising but did not require hospitalization.
Dawson, who has a history of bipolar disorder, didn’t deny the charges but said that a perfect storm of factors – including being off his medication because he couldn’t afford the prescription – contributed to the incident.
“I in no way want to give the illusion that my bipolar disease is the reason for what happened; I believe people need to be held accountable for their actions,” said Dawson. “I don’t want to talk about it as an excuse, I just want people to understand it.”
Bipolar disorder is a chemical brain condition that creates elevated mood swings. The illness can be controlled with medication, but according to Dawson, maintaining an even keel is often a difficult if not impossible task.
“It can be treated only with medication,” said Dawson. “And without some kind of mood stabilizer, there is no way you can train your brain chemistry. I’ve been through counseling, I take a mood stabilizer – but it’s not an exact science.”
Dawson was appointed to an open seat on the CSD Board in 2009 and elected to a four-year term in 2010.
CSD President Kevin Graves reacted to the news of Dawson’s arrest with sympathy and support. “This is a situation that director Dawson needs to take care of personally and privately,” said Graves. “I don’t know all the details of what happened to cause these events, but I hope he’s able to work out whatever issues he may have.”
As to whether or not he will retain his seat on the CSD Board, General Manager Rick Howard said that at this point, the decision is up to Dawson.
“There is no procedure for the board to remove Vice President Dawson,” said Howard. “That decision is entirely up to him, pending (possible) conviction of a felony, at which time he would automatically have to forfeit his seat.”
Dawson is scheduled to appear in court on Oct. 31, when the district attorney will decide whether or not to press charges.
Dawson said he has suffered from the disorder all his life, describing the illness as a sound wave of emotions ranging from extreme highs to tremendous lows. For years he said he has struggled to keep his illness private, largely because of the stigma associated with the disorder. But he hopes his going public about his illness might help others.
“As a world, we need to think about how we view mental health and the stigmas associated with it,” said Dawson. “Keeping secrets can cause damage to your physical health, and it is my hope that I can maybe help others with the disorder by speaking publicly about it.
“I know that coming out about my illness will put me in the crosshairs of the community and will vindicate those who have been critical of me in the past, but all I can say … is I’m sorry.”
Dawson is currently considering whether he will stay on the CSD Board or resign. “I don’t honestly know at this time what I’m going to do,” he said. “I’m looking at the pros and cons and am working with my family and my psychiatrist. I have made a mistake and I can’t even begin to explain how sorry I am. It’s my hope that my family and friends will be able to forgive me.”