Community mourns death of police officer

Iowa State Patrol Lt. Kelly Hindman was among the officers nearby when Rockwell City Police Officer Jamie Buenting was shot and killed Friday morning during a specialized team callout for a standoff that began on Thursday night in Rockwell City.

Hindman had known Buenting for 12 years.

“He was more dedicated and committed than most I’ve worked with,” Hindman said.

He had watched Buenting’s career develop from the time he began working as an officer in Manson through his time at Rockwell City. Buenting had been an officer there for eight years.

“He wanted to be a policeman for all the right reasons,” Hindman said.

Buenting’s loss is felt deeply.

“I’m not irreplaceable,” Hindman said, “but I think he might be. That’s why I hurt so bad.”

Hindman said Buenting was respected throughout the law enforcement community and beyond.

“He spent a lot of his time helping the community,” Hindman said.

That community extended well past Rockwell City or even Calhoun County.

Retired Webster County Sheriff’s deputy Mike Halligan had served with Buenting on the Specialized Emergency Response Team (SERT).

“He was very proud of his job,” Halligan said. “He went out of his way to be the best he could.”

Halligan said he remembers Buenting’s outgoing and friendly personality the best.

Fort Dodge Police Chief Tim Carmody considered Buenting “a consummate professional.”

“He was passionate about his skills,” said Carmody, who also said the loss is felt for both Buenting and his family.

“Our heartfelt prayers to the family,” Carmody said. “We are all torn up.”

Buenting is survived by his wife and two young children.

The Rev. Al Henderson, chaplain for the Webster County Sheriff’s Department and the Fort Dodge Police Department, also praised Buenting.

“He had that energy, that passion,” he said. “It was at least 100 percent. He loved his God, his family, his career.”

Henderson said he hopes nothing like Buenting’s murder ever happens again.

“We had one good man go down,” he said. “That’s enough.”

Buenting was not only an active member of the law enforcement community, he was also a firearms instructor for people training to get their Iowa concealed carry permit.

Al Little, a member of the Rifle and Pistol Club of Fort Dodge, became acquainted with Buenting when he began teaching classes at the club’s facility.

“He taught with real knowledge,” Little said.

Little said he was proud to recommend Buenting’s classes because his instruction exceeded the minimum legal requirements.

“He did so well,” he said. “He put so much more into it that he didn’t have to.”

Little said he will miss Buenting.

“It’s hard to believe,” he said. “What a waste.”

Deann Haden-Luke, of rural Webster County, is a veteran of Buenting’s classes.

She took a basic permit class in 2010 and his advanced handgun class in 2011.

“He did such a nice job of explaining,” she said. “He was very patient.”

As one of only a handful of women in the classes, Haden-Luke said at first, she felt a bit out of place.

“It didn’t matter to him at all,” she said.

Haden-Luke said she was impressed with how he emphasized safety and responsibility in the classes.

She said she was also impressed with Buenting’s relationship with his father, who helped out during the advanced handgun class.

“His relationship with his dad was special,” she said. “I got a real feeling that they respected each other greatly.

“My heart just aches for his family,” she said. “I feel for his kids.”