BRIER, Wash. - 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.
Brier has a population of a little over 6,000 people, the Police Department is small enough to share a building with City Hall.
Former Officer Dan Anderson says 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. On Tuesday we met him outside the library in Lynnwood, though he wasn’t there for a little summer reading.
“Oh no I’m looking for work,” he told us.
After retiring from the patrol last December, Anderson took an overnight patrol position with Brier Police Department. Eight months later -- and essentially in the middle of the night -- he was fired.
“Chief (Mike) Catlett came in at about 4:30 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 said.
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 to us.
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.
We checked with Mukilteo: 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.
“I think [the chief] was trying to do right by the city of Brier and I agree with that philosophically but ultimately when officers are asking for help, how can you expect a good officer to turn a deaf ear to that?" Anderson said. "I can’t understand that and if that means it’s time for me to find another line of work, so be it.”
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