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Officer’s death makes mark on small town

ROCKWELL CITY (AP) — The death of a Rockwell City police officer killed in the line of duty last month is having a lasting impact on the community of 2,200 Jamie Buenting served.

The Des Moines Register reported Buenting’s death is especially hard on the three remaining officers of the Rockwell City police force.

The 37-year-old father of two died Sept. 13 after being shot in the neck during an eight-hour standoff. He had been a member of the Rockwell City Police Department for eight years.

Police Chief Larry Schoop said the experience reminded him of how precious life is.

“It makes you want to live every minute to the fullest with your family and let them know that you’re there for them and how much you care about them,” said Schoop, 47, who has a wife and three children. “Life’s short. You never know when it’s going to be your time.”

The Rockwell City Council recently approved the hiring of two officers to help patrol the city. Schoop said he’ll be looking for officers who will fit in well with the department.

Rockwell City Mayor Phil Heinlen said he remembers Buenting’s grin and the conversations the two men had regularly at the courthouse.

“I see his face all the time,” Heinlen said. “You just think about him.”

The man accused of killing Buenting, Corey A. Trott, 32, faces a December trial on charges of first-degree murder. Police have said Trott admitted firing a rifle at an officer during the standoff.

Retiring Pastor Owen Englin said officiating at Buenting’s funeral was one of the hardest things he’s ever done, because his children grew up playing soccer and swimming with Buenting’s children.

“I think it’s going to take years for our community to heal,” Englin said.

Lifelong Rockwell City resident John Schmit said everyone in town remembers Buenting’s death because it shattered the feeling of security. Schmit, 52, said he always kept his keys in his truck and never locked his front door.

“Everybody knows where they were on Sept. 11, and everyone will remember where they were when they heard about Jamie,” Schmit said.

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