Police Chief Fires Officer For Responding To Active Shooter Call In Which Three Were Murdered

By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor.

Dan Anderson, Washington State Patrol File Photo
Dan Anderson, Washington State Patrol File Photo

In a preposterous example of small minded, small town thinking, a chief of police fired a twenty-five year veteran officer for responding to an active shooter call in which three teenagers were murdered and other responding units were calling for help.

The affluent town of Brier, Washington seldom receives more than one call per night but apparently Chief Mike Catlett and Mayor Bob Colinas believe that leaving the city “unprotected” is a greater priority than others who might have been killed by the active shooter and sacked Officer Dan Anderson. Despite what many would call a commendable act to help save lives at great personal risk, Dan Anderson is without a job for doing what every rightful police officer would do without hesitation.


 

Accused shooter Allen Ivanov, 19, arrived at a friend’s party in Mukilteo with numerous other teens attending. Upset about his ex-girlfriend Anna Bui breaking off their relationship and moving on in her life Ivanov allegedly entered the house, shot Anna and several others–killing two (Jordan Ebner and Jacob Long) and seriously wounding another.

Mukilteo officers called for help and logically Brier Police Officer Anderson responded to assist.

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. In fact you know who usually responds to active shooter calls? Everyone

An important fact is that Anderson was one of the first to arrive at the scene and rendered aid to the victims.

Ivanov managed to escape but was later arrested by the Washington State Patrol one hundred miles away. Given the circumstances and facts alleged, if convicted he may face execution by lethal injection or hanging for these murders.

Officer Anderson retired from the State Patrol after a twenty-five year career. He took a job as an officer with Brier in December of 2015 and was eight months into his standard one year Probationary Period.

Just a few days after the incident, Chief Catlett arrived at 4:30 AM and told Anderson he was terminating his employment for ‘leaving the city unprotected to respond to the mass-shooting call.’

Both the Chief and Mayor Colinas believe the city might suffer some disaster if an officer leaves the city limits. The Chief adds that Anderson should have called a supervisor (meaning him) to receive permission. This is an absurd argument.

First, making a phone call while responding to an emergency such as this is hazardous. Officers need to concentrate on their driving during a fast Code-3 response. Speeds can easily exceed one hundred miles an hour on freeways and in the case of city streets there are many distractions and hazards.

Second, the officers must be careful to listen to every detail of radio traffic; which in this case might include other agencies that use different channels such as their own or LEARN. Sirens and wind noise at high speeds makes it more difficult to hear the radio.

Next, having dispatch make the call would be very ill-advised. Dispatchers do not have the time, especially in passing critical information to field units while at the same time calling for medical aid or handling 911 calls from victims and all other traffic on their network.

Lastly, let’s look at what a typical month is for Brier Police Department. I gathered these records from the police department’s news blotter and it contains the last month listed on their webpage. Note: these calls are for entire days and are not signified by what happens during nighttime, if Brier does only receive one or two calls during the night it is likely that perhaps the last or the penultimate calls are what were experienced during the night shift. I suspect they are ordered by time-of-day and I highlighted certain calls for later discussion:

05/01/16
Suspicious Circumstance: 23000 Blk 34 Ave W
Burglary: 23000 Blk 34 Ave W
Assist Mountlake Terrace Police
Suspicious Circumstance: 2300 Blk 215 St SW

05/02/16
Suspicious Circumstance: 3600 Blk 224 Pl SW
Ordinance Violation: 24300 Blk 31 Ave W
Theft: 21500 Blk 32 Pl W
Assist Mountlake Terrace Police
Animal Complaint: 3100 Blk Russet Rd
Civil Complaint: 23600 Blk 35 Ave W

05/03/16
Suspicious Circumstance: 21400 Blk 32 Pl W
Suspicious Circumstance: 2300 Blk 231 Pl SW
Collision: 22200 Blk Brier Rd
Assault: 3600 Blk Larch Way
Stolen Vehicle Recovery: 22600 Blk 224 Pl SW

05/04/16
Traffic Enforcement
Suspicious Circumstance: 2900 Blk 228 St SW

05/05/16
Found Property: 2900 Blk 228 St SW
Alarm Call: 3300 Blk 214 St SW
Suspicious Circumstance: 3300 Blk 224 Pl SW
Assist Mountlake Terrace Police
Verbal Domestic: 23500 Blk 28 Ave W

05/06/16
Traffic Enforcement
Parking Complaint: 22600 Blk Brier Rd
Civil Complaint: 22900 Blk 27 Ave W
Suspicious Circumstance: 2400 Blk 228 St SW
Assist Mountlake Terrace Police

05/07/16
Traffic Enforcement
Suspicious Circumstance: 23600 Blk 28 Pl W
Suspicious Circumstance: 2900 Blk 228 St SW
Alarm Call: 5100 Blk 228 St SW
Noise Complaint: 2400 Blk 231 Pl SW

05/08/16
Traffic Enforcement
Assist Mountlake Terrace Police

05/09/16
Assist Lynnwood Police
Civil Complaint: 23400 Blk 32 Ave W
Abandoned Vehicle: 23500 Blk 39 Pl W
Civil Complaint: 23200 Blk 34 Ave W

05/10/16
Traffic Enforcement
Theft: 4900 Blk 238 St SW
Nuisance Complaint: 2900 Blk 243 Pl SW

05/11/16
Theft: 22200 Blk Brier Rd
Fraud: 2800 Blk 227 St SW
Traffic Enforcement

05/12/16
Assist Mountlake Terrace Police
Alarm Call: 23000 Blk 42 Pl W
Noise Complaint: 2800 Blk Russet Rd
Parking Complaint: 3300 Blk 224 Pl SW

05/13/16
Traffic Enforcement
Animal Complaint: Brier/Alaska Rd
Suspicious Circumstance: 2900 Blk 216 Pl SW
DUI: 21400 Blk 39 Pl W

05/14/16
Traffic Enforcement

05/15/16
Assist Lake Forest Park Police
Parking Complaint: 3100 Blk Alaska Rd
Assist Mountlake Terrace Police
Traffic Enforcement

05/16/16
Traffic Enforcement
Assist Mountlake Terrace Police

05/17/16
Traffic Enforcement
Assist Mountlake Terrace Police
Alarm Call: 3700 Blk 237 Pl SW
Noise Complaint: 2200 Blk 214 Pl SW

05/18/16
Traffic Enforcement

05/19/16
Traffic Enforcement
Burglary: 22000 Blk Vine Rd
Animal Complaint: 2900 Blk 228 St SW

05/20/16
DUI: 21700 Blk Vine Rd
Found Property: 2900 Blk 228 St SW
Civil Complaint: 3500 Blk 223 St SW

05/21/16
Traffic Enforcement
Suspicious Circumstance: 22200 Brier Rd
Assist Mountlake Terrace Police

05/22/16
Traffic Enforcement
Suspicious Circumstance: 3100 Blk 236 st SW
Assist Mountlake Terrace Police
Theft of Auto: 3900 Blk 233 St SW
Stolen Vehicle Recovery: 22200 Blk 48 Ave W
Abandoned Vehicle: 3300 Blk 224 Pl SW
Civil Complaint: 3500 Blk 230 St SW

05/23/16
Alarm Call: 2300 Blk 218 Pl SW
Theft: 23200 Blk 51 Ave W
Alarm Call: 2300 Blk 218 Pl SW
Suspicious Circumstance: 3300 Blk 224 Pl SW
Noise Complaint: 2200 Blk 214 St SW

05/24/16
Stolen Vehicle Recovery: 23200 Blk 32 Ave W
Assist Mountlake Terrace Police
Noise Complaint: 2200 Blk 214 St SW
Parking Complaint: 3200 Blk 226 Pl SW
Theft: 3400 Blk 232 St SW
Alarm Call: 2900 Blk 228 St SW
Suspicious Circumstance: 22800 Blk Brier Rd
Noise Complaint: 2800 Blk Russet Rd

05/25/16
Traffic Enforcement
Assist Mountlake Terrace Police

05/26/16
Assist Mountlake Terrace Police
Traffic Enforcement
Suspicious Person: 2900 Blk 228 St SW
Suspicious Circumstance: 23600 Blk Brier Rd
Suspicious Circumstance: 7200 Blk 228 St SW
Verbal Domestic: 5900 Blk 227 St SW

05/27/16
Assist Mountlake Terrace Police
Alarm Call: 2700 Blk 242 Pl SW
Animal Complaint: 24300 Blk Brier Rd
Suspicious Circumstance: 3900 Blk 228 St SW
Burglary: 21900 Blk Oak Wy
Theft: 2420 Blk 32 Ave W
Suspicious Circumstance: 23100 Blk 24 Ave W
Suspicious Circumstance: 3700 Blk 227 St SW

05/28/16
Disturbance: 3800 Blk 225 Pl SW
Stolen Vehicle Recovery: 22700 Blk Old Poplar Way
Civil Complaint: 2800 Blk 241 Pl SW
Theft: 23900 Blk 35 Ave W
Alarm Call: 3000 Blk 215 Pl SW
Assist Mountlake Terrace Police

05/29/16
Traffic Enforcement
Suspicious Circumstance: 22300 Blk 36 Ave E
Assist Mountlake Terrace Police

05/30/16
Traffic Enforcement
Alarm Call: 2700 Blk 243 Pl SW

05/31/16
Traffic Enforcement
Assist Mountlake Terrace
Alarm Call: 22000 Blk 39 Ave W
Threats: 22600 Blk 22 Pl W
Animal Complaint: 2900 Blk 228 St SW
Suspicious Circumstance: 21400 Blk 50 Ave W
Burglary: 22800 Blk 48 Pl W
Suspicious Circumstance: 4700 Blk 196 St SW

Twenty calls are for “Traffic Enforcement”–the highest number of call type. Eighteen were for assisting neighboring agency Mountlake Terrace. It seems that perhaps leaving the city is a regular occurrence and as stated before, Officer Anderson reported that the city seldom receives more than one call for service during the night.

During the month of May there was only one call for a violence related incident–an assault of some form. Other than the burglary complaints and one DUI the remaining calls were minor in nature. Perhaps the chief and mayor might be upset that a speeder might get away or a barking dog call might go unanswered if one of their officers responds to backup others for an in-progress active shooter call.

dan-anderson-brier-uniform

The city eventually did offer some form of statement to explain their side. I doubt it came from the mayor directly. It is most likely authored by the city attorney:

Mr. Anderson was let go from his probationary employment because it was determined that during his probationary employment he was not meeting the expectations of the Police Department in several key performance related matters. Prior to the Mukilteo 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.

Mayor Bob Colinas
Mayor Bob Colinas

Mayor Colinas states that the incident 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.

Chief Mike Catlett
Chief Mike Catlett

Performance issue, really? How does a person with twenty five years experience in one of the largest law enforcement agencies in the state have performance issues in a small town: especially one rated as the thirteenth safest city in the state to live in? Did the average rookie who made it through FTO somehow have a skill set that exceeds Officer Anderson’s? It does not make any sense. In the official termination letter, there is no mention of the Mukilteo shooting but only to unspecific “performance issues”.

The irony is that Brier’s mayor and this poor excuse for a police chief seem to have forgotten that one of their own officers lost his life while struggling with a combative patient, the former mayor of Brier who was suffering an extreme cause of low blood sugar.

Brier Officer Eddie Thomas died of a heart attack but just prior was able to push the emergency button on his radio. Dispatch called for help. Mountlake Terrace officers responded; doing the unthinkable by leaving their own city. Unfortunately, it was not in time and we lost Eddie. I attended the funeral and it was a great tribute from community who gave a defining outpouring of support and comfort for Eddie’s family. Now, just a month away from the ten-year anniversary of this tragic death of one of their own officers (who also was with the department for less than a year) Chief Mike Catlett and Mayor Bob Colinas apparently have shown what is truly important to them: that department policy is so rigid, the lives of others only matter if they reside within the borders of their own small world and mindedness. Hopefully for them they won’t be two blocks outside the city if they become the victims of something bad. After all, rules are rules and the Gods of Brier must be obeyed.

If someone was to be fired it would be Chief Catlett since he obviously is unfit to be a police officer given his indifference to the lives of other officers and victims of shootings. Judgment, and common sense seem not to be present in his personnel decisions. Dan Anderson should take Catlett’s place if Brier had the wisdom to do so. Who would you want to be you backup: Dan Anderson who has the fortitude to engage an active shooter, or Chief Catlett who sits in his office with his nose stuffed in the SOP manual?

In the end Dan Anderson was magnamanous about his demise at the hands of two small minded men–as stated in an interview with KIRO News:

He told [the interviewer] 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 calls, 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. “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 [the chief], 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.”

Now that’s what being a cop is all about. Maybe Brier performed a service to Dan Anderson by firing him and spared him the aggravation of working for such fools.

More information may be obtained from the following sources:

The Honorable Mayor Bob Colinas
rcolinas@ci.brier.wa.us
2901 228th St. SW
Brier, WA 98036
(425) 775-5440

Mike Catlett, Chief of Police
(425) 775-5452
mcatlett@ci.brier.wa.us

By Darren Smith

The views expressed in this posting are the author’s alone and not those of the blog, the host, or other weekend bloggers. As an open forum, weekend bloggers post independently without pre-approval or review. Content and any displays or art are solely their decision and responsibility.

33 thoughts on “Police Chief Fires Officer For Responding To Active Shooter Call In Which Three Were Murdered

  1. I won’t completely rule out the possibility that Anderson is a screw-up and just coasted through 25 years with the State police, heck I’ve got a lotto ticket in my wallet that says I think the utterly improbable could happen.

    The more likely scenario is that Anderson’s “big city ways” (read, “professional approach”) to policing wasn’t meshing well with the small-city fiefdom approach, and they didn’t want him gaining credibility and stature for his actions.

  2. Another town story

    Mayor wants to reduce property tax costs based on union cops & teachers salaries.

    Behold, police officer Otto, president of police union investigates, stalks mayor & arrests him.

    Union teachers & union cops are happy. The threat has been nullified.

  3. I know that based on this article, things may look bad for the decision made by Mayor Bob Colinas and Chief Mike Catlett to sack Officer Dan Anderson. But to be fair, you have to also consider the many performance issues that they previously identified and brought to Officer Anderson’s attention. You might say that when Officer Anderson left the city to aid other officers in need of urgent help, that event was the straw that broke the camel’s back.

    Since Darren’s otherwise excellent article did not address those serious performance issues, as a public service I’ve researched the matter and managed to unearth some of Officer Anderson’s previous performance problems. Here is a short list of them:

    1. On April 7, 2016, Officer Anderson visited a restaurant in the early morning where he consumed a donut and a cup of coffee, and he insisted on paying for it, in violation of police protocol.

    2. On or around May 25, 2016, Officer Anderson was advised that Chief Catlett was not particularly fond of bow ties, yet Officer Anderson failed to get the hint.

    3. On June 18, while an elderly woman was attempting to cross a street, she dropped several items she was carrying and was having difficulty retrieving them in the middle of the street. Officer Anderson, witnessing the event, stopped to aid the woman. Although this act may have appeared innocent, his actions reflected badly on the department because others seeing this might think that police officers are available to address personal matters that citizens should handle themselves.

    4. On August 2, 2016, Officer Anderson was called to address a domestic dispute. He responded within 2 minutes and resolved the matter within 20 minutes. While to many, the speed with which Officer Anderson resolved this matter may seem commendable, Officer Anderson has actually harmed the reputation of our department by creating too high expectations in the community.

    Thus, when you balance out all of these performance issues, one after the other, you can readily understand the positions of the Mayor and Chief.

  4. Yep, sounds pretty ridiculous. Brier is a different kind of town. It’s 99% single family residences on largish lots and a little pocket of podunk businesses, suburban but kind of off the beaten track. It’s a little surprising they actually have a PD.

  5. I have known a number of Washington State Patrol officers and have found them to be highly professional and well trained.
    There were some serious problems with the State Crime Lab, which (I think) was overseen by a branch of the WSP.
    Other than that exception, I’ve found the officers “on the road” to be top notch.
    The fact that officer Anderson had a 25 year career with the WS Patrol probably speaks well of him.
    In the late 1980s, the WSP went back to the bigger vehicles after several years of experimenting with Ford Mustangs.
    I ran into a couple of WSP officers at a Dairy Queen…..held the door open for them as they exited with the coffee cups in their hands.
    They had just transitioned from the Mustangs to the Ford Victories, Chevy Caprices, etc. I commented that “you guys got rid of the Mustangs, huh?”
    One officer responded that yes, they were just too small if you had to push a stalled vehicle off the roadway.
    And a pursuit driving instructor at an academy had previous said the short whellbase made them somewhat unstable at very high speeds.
    About a mile from the Dairy Queen, one of the officers “, lite me up “, puled me over.
    As I opened the window, I commented “you must not have liked my question about the Mustangs”, and he busted out laughing.
    He said “I didn’t know it was you, but I pulled you over because your tags are expired.”
    My Dad has died about 6 weeks before, and hus widow asked me to check out the vehicle and sell it for her, as there would be no need to keep two cars after Dad died.
    Sure enough, the current tags were in the glive box the registration, and his wife/ widow had forgotten to get them put on with his sudden -fatal heart attack- death, funeral arrangements, adjustments, etc.
    I said I can put these on right now, he asked how far away I lived, it was about 3-4 blocks, c. a half mile.
    He said no, just put them on when you get home before you drive it again.
    Very pleasant guy. Ironically, the first responder to the scene of my Dad’s car, spotted on the should of a highway about a mile out of town, was a young WSP Trooper.
    He tried unsuccessfully to do CPR on my Dad….I got the details from him. My Dad evidently knew he was in trouble, pulled over on a gravel shoulder, the car was spotted by the young Trooper, who intiated CPR before the paramedics arrived.
    I thanked him and the paramedics for their efforts…since the car was still in “drive” gear and running, held in place by tge deep gravel, he probably lost consciousness and his life very shortly after he pulled over, so his situation was hopeless as far as recesitation, but the efforts were made.
    In walking over to my Dad’s house a few days after he died, I spotted a young WSP Trooper parked on a street in town.
    I approached him to once again thank WSP for their efforts and information, and it turned out to be the very Trooper who discovered my Dad, the one I had just talked to on the phone.
    Great guy. Anyway, these are a couple of L.O.N.G. trips down memory lane Of examples of positive experiences with the WSP.

  6. Thanks for the article, Darren. As I was reading it, I was thinking what you wrote: “Hopefully for them they won’t be two blocks outside the city if they become the victims of something bad. After all, rules are rules and the Gods of Brier must be obeyed.”

  7. Frankly, they should fire that fat slob of a ‘chief’ and give the job to the trooper. Catlett was a police officer, likely the only one interested in the job when the former chief finally retired. A chief who had bounced from department to department over those 30 plus years. Another officer in the town, the article reads, died of a heart attack trying to restrain the FORMER mayor, who is diabetic. Was that officer as out of shape as Catlett is? They should be thankful they were able to GET a seasoned professional from the highway patrol and again, I suggest the new poedunk mayor fire the new poedunk police chief before HE has a heart attack and dies and then,hire the trooper back, as chief. Catlett is a freakin liability. If he asks REALLY nice, perhaps trooper Anderson will take him to a gym and give him some pointers on dropping 300 pounds. One second thought, fire the mayor and the chump…..I mean chimp…..I mean CHIEF, (sorry chump and chimp) and the town should hire Anderson to do BOTH!! It’s the northwest version of Dukes of Hazzard! I know one place I’ll NOT ever visit!!

  8. I can only assume that this officer was a true officer and not one to allow corruption within the department.

    Since the firing and efforts put forth by MLT PD history and assisting Mountlake Terrace is a common occurrence to this article: I would have to assume, by repeated occurrences by Mountlake Terrace PD. just in the broad spectrum of new articles, The feeling they are looking for officers who write reports supporting the Departmental underlying goals and reports to support another officer as the main objective. Not the objective of actually looking for actual evidence, circumstances and the actual crime. The investigation efforts of Mountlake Terrace seem to be more focused on how to make their target appear to be the one at fault regardless of evidence.

    The efforts to bring false light to anyone who may be a threat or concern, in order to cover up any possible misrepresentation that could be brought to their attention by another individual, rather an officer or a citizen.

    Really comes as a concern to think there may also be other Police Departments out there as a whole that could mirror the processes uses by Mountlake Terrace. I once believed mistakes were limited to individuals that the whole unit was not involved. Mountlake Terrace has proven to be a united unit in the efforts of misrepresentation of the actual reasons and aimed at only achieving the goals in hand for the Department, not the citizens.

    The “other” performance issues that have been listed in this article only supports further of the way policing is becoming more of a Department servant rather than a Professional civil servant as placed under oath. Any “professional” is a person in a position that makes a positive difference in another persons life/lives. Without personal/dept. hidden agendas and underlying goals.

    I will only expect to have either additional efforts to press charges (created or otherwise) or set up for another accident for “neglect” or simply additional tampering causing hardship and expense. I can pretty much expect continuation of defamation along with false light to hit at some point by responding to this articale. I have learned to start calling them ahead of time so others can actually see what is going on.

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