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Former Brier officer fired for more than just Mukilteo response

Former Brier police officer Dan Anderson believes he was fired for responding to the Mukilteo mass shooting. (KIRO 7)
LISTEN: Former Brier police officer says he was fired for responding to Mukilteo shooting

The Brier police officer who says he was fired for responding to a mass shooting in another city may not be telling the whole story, according to Mayor Bob Colinas.

Related: Why Mukilteo shooter’s lawyer released suspect’s ‘suicide’ note

Colinas, Brier’s mayor, sent a statement regarding former officer Dan Anderson. Anderson told KIRO Radio’s Dori Monson that he believes he was fired for leaving the city unprotected while he responded to the shooting in Mukilteo that left three teenagers dead. According to the mayor’s statement, that only scratches the surface.

In face, Mr. Anderson was let go from his probationary employment because it was determined that during his probationary employement he was not meeting the expectations of the Police Department in several key performance related matters. Prior to the Mikilteo incident, these matters were pointed out to Mr. Anderson by the Police Chief during his probationary employment in an effort to seek improvement in Mr. Anderson’s performance. Mr. Anderson was allowed to repeat his field training with a second field training officer. Ultimately this effort proved unsuccessful and a conclusion was reached that Mr. Anderson should not become a full time post-probationary police officer with Brier.

According to Mayor Colinas, Anderson’s decision to leave his post to respond to the Mukilteo shooting 14 miles away was “another example of a performance issue.” Colinas argues that while Brier supports providing mutual aid to other agencies, Anderson was the only one on duty at the time; he could have called the chief of police before making the decision. Plus, Colinas notes, Mukilteo doesn’t share a border with Brier, but it does share borders with Everett and Lynnwood, which both have large police departments.

A Brier police officer says he was fired for responding to the Mukilteo shooting that left three teenagers dead and a fourth seriously injured. He says the city’s police chief told him he shouldn’t have left Brier unprotected to answer another city’s call for help.

‘Life is too short’

Anderson told KIRO Radio’s Dori Monson that he has no qualms about his decision and has no plans to file a lawsuit.

“Life is too short. I’ve got enough to do and the truth is, life is too short to be bitter,” Anderson said. “I am not going to struggle with bitterness. I’m just going to move on and try to find something to do with my life.”

Fired for responding to Mukilteo shooting

Brier has a population of a little over 6,000 people. The Police Department is small enough to share a building with the city hall.

Anderson said it’s unusual to respond to more than one call during a 10-hour shift, so he doesn’t understand why coming to the aid of a neighboring department is cause for termination.

Anderson is a retired Washington state trooper with 25 years of law enforcement experience. After retiring from the patrol last December, Anderson took an overnight patrol position with Brier Police Department. Eight months later — essentially in the middle of the night — he was fired.

“Chief (Mike) Catlett came in at about 4:30 a.m. in the morning on Monday morning, in the last hour of my shift, and told me it wasn’t working out and he let me go,” Anderson told KIRO 7.

Anderson said Chief Mike Catlett gave him a formal letter, but it doesn’t offer an explanation.

“When I asked him why, he said it was because I left the city of Brier unprotected to respond to the Mukilteo shooting,” Anderson explained.

Anderson says he was one of the first officers to arrive at the scene of the deadly shooting and that he entered the house with two Mountlake Terrace officers.

According to the Mukilteo Police Department, in addition to Brier and Mountlake Terrace, Edmonds and Lynnwood sent officers as well. With the exception of Mill Creek those are the closest neighboring cities to Mukilteo and Anderson says Mukilteo officers were on the radio, desperate for help.

He told Dori that he went public with the issue because he philosophically disagrees with the police chief’s policy that officers should not respond to other agencies calls, including high risk, unless it gets to “the point of common sense” or if other officers are being shot at.

“Do I really have to let it get to that point?” Anderson asked Dori. “Isn’t it enough that (the officers) are recognizing they have a tactical disadvantage and they need more bodies? That’s good enough for me. If that’s not good enough for him, then maybe I’m not cut out to work for him anymore. And fair enough, it’s his call. That’s his call. But in good faith, I could never, never turn my back on an officer who is screaming for help.”

KIRO 7 contributed to this story.

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