Woodburn Police Officer Dan Kelly placed on administrative leave

A tort claim has been filed with the city of Woodburn on behalf of a Woodburn Police officer who was recently put on administrative leave.

The claim has been filed against the city, its human resources director and two Woodburn Police employees by attorney Jeffrey Boiler on behalf of his clients Officers Dan Kelly and Peter Lichte. In the tort claim, Boiler references an incomplete investigation conducted by the city’s human resources director, Mike Hereford, and a number of incidents in which the officers felt threatened and harassed.

Boiler also submitted a tort claim on behalf of Officer Jarrod Bowers in November, in which WPD Capt. Jason Alexander’s leadership was criticized after he allegedly harassed employees and even a victim of rape.

The newest tort claim summarizes the harassment Kelly has received since November, when the first tort claim was delivered to the city.

Boiler wrote that Kelly has been threatened and blocked from moving his car while on duty by M&M Towing owner Micky Henson, who was recently acquitted of rape but whose alleged victim had been an informant mentioned in Bowers’ claim. When Kelly filed a written report on this latest incident, Boiler continues, no action was done.

However, Boiler wrote that Kelly’s badge and gun were taken away last Tuesday for being “untruthful” when recounting events from 2009, when Sgt. John Mikkola allegedly sexually forced himself on Kelly’s then-girlfriend. Kelly, who started at WPD in September 2008, did not bring the matter forward right away as he was still on probation and Mikkola was his supervisor.

“WPD had detailed knowledge of the fact this was not consensual sex and occurred when Sgt. Mikkola was Kelly's supervisor, with Kelly on probation,” Boiler said. “All Mikkola had to do was give the word and Kelly would not make probation, and no reason had to be given. It was a perfect predatory storm, and it was made possible by failure by WPD to do anything about it, not by anything Dan Kelly did.”

Through an internal investigation conducted by Hereford, the female victim was never interviewed, according to Boiler, and the findings of the investigation were never revealed to those who initiated the complaint. The investigation, a full four years after the incident, also included the district attorney’s office, which happens to employ Mikkola’s wife as an investigator.

According to Boiler, Kelly was put on leave Feb. 25 and has reason to believe he is at risk of his career being ended.

City of Woodburn officials couldn’t comment on the status of Kelly’s employment.

“The city does not comment on pending litigation or ongoing personal matters,” said Jason Horton, communications coordinator, in a statement. “The city is prepared to, and will address, these claims in due course and in the appropriate venue. For now, the city will forego any further comment pending the outcome of the legal process.”

Boiler continued that things don’t look great for Kelly’s career due to Mikkola’s wife being an investigator in the Marion County District Attorney’s Office.

Boiler also indicates that Alexander has a shady background, having been relieved of his job in the Keizer Police Department after he admitted to cheating throughout college in order to pass.

“Unless Mr. Alexander had an unexplained change of method and personal character between his Keizer employment and his Woodburn employment as a police officer, these circumstances obviously had and have a direct bearing on his credibility as a police officer, let alone as a civil defendant,” Boiler wrote. “In short, it appears not only that WPD hired Mr. Alexander with reason to know of his true reasons for separation from Keizer, but on his arrival, promoted the Fox to the title of Captain of the Chicken Coop.”

Boiler appealed to the mayor and city council, to whom the tort claim is addressed, to respond to a problem that he said has caused the suffering of three police officers, 10 percent of the police force.

“Command has even enjoyed and on information and belief encouraged one or more union members of the Woodburn Police Officers Association to marginalize and isolate Officers Lichte, Kelly and Bowers, since the first tort claim notice in this matter was served,” Boiler wrote. “Command officers have aided, assisted or encouraged others within the city employ to report falsehoods about these officers and their motivation as true false facts, all as part of the civil conspiracy hereby alleged.”

Boiler closes his letter stating that unless action is taken, these cases will be filed in federal court shortly.

“In a very real sense, this case in all its detail presents public safety and government fund stewardship issues,” Boiler said. “Perhaps it is clearer why Woodburn’s silence on all these details and matters of public interest certainly is not what the citizens of that city pay their fees and taxes to support.” Additionally, Mikkola, who has been on leave from the WPD since last year, has also alerted the city that he intends to sue for mistreatment through his attorney Sean Riddell. Neither said they could comment on the issue.

The complete tort claim can be viewed here.

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