What happen to Ken Van?
By Pat Soll
It's been a while since I visited the FPK web page. This morning I read the article in the training section that Sled Smith wrote about Ken Van. I can fill in a few of the blanks....
Ken was also my trainee. They (LT.Jim Anderson, I think) gave him to me after Smith had him. When he worked with me Ken lived in Carson with his wife and twin daughters, northeast of Carson Station. Smith's story made Ken sound much different than the man I knew and worked with. While Ken was not someone who was easily offended or sensitive, I'm not sure how he would take to Smith's writings. Ken was an excellent deputy, even as a trainee. He had a tremendous street sense about him and was very comfortable doing the job. I never heard him speak to or around anyone on the streets in the demeaning terms Smith describes. He was always a professional - one of the best trainees I had.
When Dave Andrews was killed, there was some concern at the time that Ken was the target. We had arrested Claudie Lee Clay for 211, and he had promised to kill both of us and some other FPK deps in court. As you may recall Sam Shippey and Dave Andrews were partners and Ken and I were partners (TO/Trainee) in the north end. Two salt and pepper teams, and Sam and I and Ken and Dave were similar in appearance. Sam and I car-pooled to work. We were on the way to work when he heard about Dave's killing - no one bothered to call Sam at home. It has a hard day and weeks that followed for Sam and in the long term (along with wife concerns) I was partly responsible for his leaving the department and becoming a successful chicken farmer in Arkansas.
While on duty one day a 925/417 call came out at Ken's home address in Carson. We rolled code-3 from the north end and beat the first Carson unit there. Ken's neighbor had seen a black man carrying a gun walking around the back yard of Ken's house, but he was GPA. The department moved/hid Ken and his family to Orange County for about a month and Metro "lived" in his home waiting for the suspect to return. He didn't come back and Ken was moved back home. You may recall all of this.
Ken only stayed at the station a short time after that and, before he was officially off training, went back to the jail. He caught so much heat from his wife that he couldn't stay. She was going nuts over the whole thing.
He later went back to patrol for a time at Lennox Station and eventually quit the department in favor of his marriage (smart man); his wife never got over the experience at FPK. The last I heard, he and his wife were running a day care center somewhere in Carson - that was a looooong time ago, and I don't know where he is now.