Fallen officers honored at Iowa Peace Officer Memorial
A total of 173 officers have given their lives in the name of protecting the people of Iowa. Friday in Des Moines, four of those individuals were honored by adding their names to the Iowa Peace Officer Memorial. The memorial is located between the Oran Pape State Office Building and the Capitol.
"Each year, we lose approximately 160 to 180 officers around the country, so it's kind of a special week for law enforcement, where we can remember those who gave that ultimate sacrifice," said Sergeant Scott Bright of the Iowa State Patrol.
Officer Jamie Buenting of Rockwell City, Iowa was just one of those who lost his life while protecting ours. His family was present as his service and sacrifice was honored and remembered. Officer Buenting was killed during a standoff in Rockwell City on September 13, 2013.
"These officers go to work each day, not knowing what the future holds or if they will make it home safely to their families at the end of their shifts," said Larry Noble, Commissioner of the Iowa Department of Public Safety. "Some don't and unfortunately, that is why we're here today."
Governor Terry Branstad dedicated the monument in 1985 and said Friday it is a lasting tribute to Iowa's peace officers.
"I've always believed that we have the finest law enforcement community in this state that you could possibly have and the camaraderie and the support that we see for law enforcement at all levels in Iowa is something that we're very proud of," Governor Branstad said.
The other three officers added to the memorial were Farmington City Marshal Reuben Fenstenmaker, killed in 1868, Farmington City Marshall Robert Coulter, killed in 1902, and Town Marshal Joseph Kashmetter, killed in 1911.
"We go back through history and find out through newspaper clippings, family members of officers that were killed over 100 years ago that we didn't realize happened that long ago," Sergeant Bright said. "So our committee gets together and we go back and do some research on them and we find out that they were killed in the line of duty and we want to recognize them because they did pay the ultimate sacrifice, even though it was 100 years ago, they did pay the ultimate sacrifice and we want to remember those."
In addition to Friday's ceremony, Governor Branstad ordered all flags to be flown at half-staff from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Branstad also declared the week of May 11-17 as Peace Officer's Week in Iowa.