Published on April 12th, 20132
Detective who pens crime stories to be honored as DETC famous alumnus
Sometimes, you never know where your career will take you.
From a tense, heart-pounding moment laced with anxiety as you prepare to face possible killers to an exciting time talking with fans of your work standing in line for your autograph.
These are some of the experiences of CSU graduate Ken Lang, a veteran detective with the Baltimore County (Md.) Police Department and true-crime author. Lang was also chosen as the DETC Famous Alumni representative from CSU. This week, he and CSU graduate Julie Carter will be honored at the DETC Conference in San Franciso.
His journey to these careers began after high school graduation in 1985. “When I considered the military, I received no backing from my parents and began looking for employment. With an interest in law enforcement, I applied to the Havre de Grace (Md.) Police Department and was hired. During this time I began toying with my higher education, taking a criminal justice course here and there at the local community college,” Lang explained.
In the early 1990s, Lang was working for the Baltimore County Police, which later made an emphasis on furthering the education of its members.
“By now, I had realized the value of an education and my appetite was wet. But the “one class at a time” strategy at the community college wasn’t working with the shift work. Then I stumbled on an advertisement in the American Police Beat magazine floating around the station and learned about CSU and their online degrees,” said Lang.
“I must admit, I was skeptical, wondering if the degree was legit. But after conducting my own investigation, I loved that not only was CSU an accredited college, but I could do my studies at my pace, on my time and around my crazy fluctuating work hours.”
Lang added after seeing CSU’s evaluation of his previous training and education indicated he was just a few credits away from an associate degree, he was inspired to start a bachelor’s degree in 2002.
He said obtaining his bachelor’s in criminal justice allowed him to see the criminal justice system from a variety of perspectives.
“I am better able to articulate the facts of the case in my reports. Additionally, I’ve developed a more thorough understanding of social issues and how they affect the communities where crime is more prevalent,” he explained.
Some of the perspectives can be seen in his books “Walking Among the Dead,” “Standing in Death’s Shadow” and his latest, “Death Comes Uninvited.” Many of his stories come from real-life crimes and situations Lang has dealt with as a detective.
Lang has received accolades for his detective work with the Baltimore County Police and his books which have become recommended readings at universities. In fact, New York Times bestselling author Julia Spencer-Fleming reads his books to understand how a homicide detective works.
He said that CSU coursework has also affected his writing.
“With CSU’s innate way they have designed their courses around a great deal of writing to demonstrate one’s knowledge of a given topic, I have found that the essays, article critiques and research papers have strengthened my writing skills,” he commented.
Lang has been involved in resolving real-life mysteries including a case that gained notoriety when it featured on the TV show “Forensic Files.” The CSU graduate is also a lecturer at colleges where he speaks about his expertise as a forensic artist.
“Without a doubt, having my bachelor’s degree in criminal justice carries a level of authenticity that most other true-crime authors cannot demonstrate.”
Now, Lang is nearing completion of his master’s degree in criminal justice with CSU. “Not only was the CSU master’s program affordable, but I felt really comfortable with the familiarity of the intuitive format of the courses,” he said.
Lang is hopeful this degree will help write another chapter in his career.
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