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Family of Fallen Pella Police Officer Remembers His Legacy

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John Van Haaften and family. Photo provided by Tricia Van Zee.

The family of John E. Van Haaften continues to remember the legacy of the Pella Police Officer killed in the line of duty.

Van Haaften was shot and killed in April of 1980 while conducting an undercover drug bust in Knoxville.
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Earlier this month, his daughter, Tricia Van Zee and husband Lance traveled to Washington D.C. to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial.

Tricia tells KNIA/KRLS News it was her first time at the site since she was a senior in high school.

“I would say we were there for two hours, and I would say for the first hour was very teary for me, and the second hour was full of great pride and honor, and I found myself engaging the people that were around — I wanted to know their story,” she says.
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She says her father loved the community and to serve and protect the public, as the many officers around the country do every day, as well as those who paid the ultimate sacrifice.

“My dad loved being a police officer,” she says. “It’s not anything you go into mildly, and so everyone in that role, it’s not their intent to be the bad guy, their intent is to protect us from the bad guy.”

This week is National Police Week, recognized annually to remember peace officers killed while on duty. Hear more on today’s Let’s Talk Pella.

Photos provided by Tricia Van Zee