Family, Friends & Fellow Officers Remember...

Patrolman John Ernest Van Haaften

Pella Police Department, Iowa

End of Watch Wednesday, April 9, 1980

Leave a Reflection

Reflections for Patrolman John Ernest Van Haaften


Posted on April 7, 2020 KNIA KRLS NEWS

This week marks the 40th anniversary of the line of duty death of Pella Police Officer John E. Van Haaften, and current officers and staff are marking the occasion by wearing special memorial bands.

Each year, a memorial is posted in front of the Pella Police Department to remember the sacrifice of John Ernest Van Haaften. He served for just over two years at the department when he was killed during an undercover drug bust in Knoxville on April 9th, 1980.

Sharyl Hanthorn was married to Van Haaften, and has established the John E. Van Haaften memorial scholarship, which is given to a Pella or Pella Christian senior during the annual Dollars for Scholars awards nights.

Retired Police Officer

April 7, 2020

Officer Van Haaften was my uncle. I never Had the pleasure of meeting him, but have heard many wonderful stories about him. His family misses him deeply and was taken from this world far too soon. We will keep your memories alive and remember to tell future Van Haaften generations your stories.

Sara Brent

April 9, 2019

I was a senior in high school nearby when this shooting occurred, and specifically remember hearing the news story on the radio that morning. Four years later I began my law enforcement career at the Pella PD where Van Haaften had worked, and heard many stories and reflections on Officer Van Haaften's short career there. He was well-liked by all who knew him.

Sgt. Steve Woody
Des Moines Police Department

April 9, 2015

Rest in Peace, Patrolman Van Haaften. Your sacrifice is not forgotten.

Officer 11169

January 3, 2014

Your heroism and service is honored today, the 32nd anniversary of your death. Your memory lives and you continue to inspire. Thank you for your service. My cherished son Larry Lasater was a fellow police officer who was murdered in the line of duty on April 24, 2005 while serving as a Pittsburg, CA police officer.

Time never diminishes respect. Your memory will always be honored and revered.

I pray for solace for all those that love and remember you for I know both the pain and pride are forever. Your family is in my heart's embrace. I thank your family and friends for sharing their memories and devotion to you through their reflections.

Rest In Peace

Phyllis Loya
Mom of fallen California Officer Larry Lasater, Pittsburg PD, eow 4/24/05

April 9, 2012

I never met you, but I know you changed people's lives. Thank you for your service. You would be so proud of your children and grandchildren. Thank you for being a great brother and friend to my mother. We love you and you are in our hearts every day.

Katie Bushnell

April 8, 2011

Another year has passed and you are still admired and respectfully remembered in the hearts and minds of so many. My thoughts and prayers are with your loved ones and friends on this anniversary of your EOW. You will never be forgotten.

James Sheppard
Father of Sgt. Jason L. Sheppard EOW 12/7/06

April 9, 2010



May 1, 2008


Pat Van Den Berghe

April 9, 2008

"The Badge"
He starts his shift each day
To respond to calls unknown.
He drives a marked patrol car.
A police officer he is known.
He's paid by the citizens' taxes
To make it safe on the streets.
But he usually has a second job
'Cause a waitress has his salary beat.
Now he doesn't know a holiday
'Cause he works all year round.
And when Thanksgiving and Christmas finally arrive
At his home he cannot be found.
He's cursed and assaulted often,
The one whos blood runs blue.
He seldom ever gets a thanks,
To some he's just a fool.
His friends are always other cops
'Cause people just don't understand
That underneath his badge and gun,
He's just another man.
He knows there might not be a tomorrow
In this world of drugs and crime.
And he gets so mad at the court system
'Cause the crooks don't get any time.
And each day when he leaves for work,
He prays to God above.
Please bring me home after my shift
So I can see the ones I love.
But tonight he stops a speeding car,
He's alone down this ole' highway.
It's just a little traffic infraction.
He does it everyday.
Well, he walks up to the driver's window,
And his badge is shining bright.
He asked the guy for a driver's license,
When a shot rang through the night.
Yes, the bullet hit its mark,
Striking the officer in the chest.
But the Department's budget didn't buy
Each officer a bullet-proof vest.
So he lay on the ground bleeding.
His blood wasn't blue - His blood was red.
And briefly he thought of his loved ones
'Cause in a moment the officer was dead.
In the news they told the story
Of how this officer had died.
And some who listened cared less,
But those who loved him cried.
Well, they buried him in uniform
With his badge pinned on his chest.
He even had his revolver,
He died doing his best.
Written By:
David L. Bell
Richland County Sheriff's Department
Columbia, South Carolina
Used with Special Permission of the Author
Copyright © 1999 - All Rights Reserved
and may not be duplicated without permission

Investigator David L Bell
Richland County Sheriff's Dept., Columbia, SC

October 23, 2007

I stop by this website often after the death of two dear friends with the NCSHP (Troopers Calvin Taylor E.O.W. October 3, 2001 and Anthony Cogdill E.O.W. May 30, 2003). Unfortunately, I had to add the name of another friend. Deputy Jeffrey Hewitt, Buncombe County (NC) Sheriff’s Department, E.O.W. April 4, 2004.

We all grieve over the lives lost in the line of duty. I hope you can find some comfort knowing that there are countless prayers that go out for your family.

Patrolman Van Haaften, you are remembered on this date of your death. You will always be remembered.

These are senseless tragedies that never seem to stop. God Bless the men and women who continue to serve their communities in our great Nation.

...Gone, but never Forgotten....

Marti Ingle (EMT-Paramedic)
Haywood Co EMS (NC)

April 9, 2004

Although I know nothing about your family, life or anything I am saddened. You were taken from this earth on the day that I was born. I am now a Law Enforcement officer, the only one in my family so far. Rest in Peace my brother and help guide and watch over all of us still here, for we will all reunite one day. In pace requiescat.

Patrol Officer K Moses
MTSU Campus Police

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