SIGOURNEY, Iowa - Keokuk County Sheriff Jeff Shipley has a new gun he will carry with him as his "duty weapon."
The gun, a Glock 22 fourth generation, was ordered by Deputy Sergeant Eric Stein shortly before he was killed in the line of duty in April.
"I will carry that weapon as long as I am here," said Shipley. "I think it is probably going to be a tradition, when I am gone I will pass it on to the next guy who takes my place."
Shipley said he and Stein shot the gun at a range last winter after a regional gun dealer stopped down to show them "the latest and greatest" gun on the market. Stein decided to order the gun, not as a duty weapon, rather to keep as his own.
On April 4th Shipley, Stein and another deputy were involved in a shootout on a rural Keokuk County farm. Jeffrey Krier, a mentally ill man believed to have been not taking his medication, shot and killed Stein.
Krier was later shot and killed by members of the Iowa State Patrol Tactical Team.
"The sidearm came in after Eric (Stein) was deceased, and they're trying to run it through his credit card and it was cancelled," Shipley said. "(So) I went ahead and purchased the handgun."
The Kansas based gun company sent the gun last week, along with a complimentary engraving that read: "In Memory of 54-3." 54-3 was Stein's badge number.
"It's a way for me to personally pick up the torch for him because he's not here," said Shipley.
Shipley said the department has slowly moved on since the shooting, but they'll never forget what happened through the numerous tributes and memorials dedicated to Stein.
"All you can do is rebuild, go on, life goes on, and the phone doesn't quit ringing," said Shipley. "We've still got to be here for the people of Keokuk County."
The Sheriff said he doesn't fault the family of Jeffrey Krier for the shooting. He said the bottom line is that Krier should have been taking better care of himself.
"I don't blame anybody other than the person who was shooting at us," Shipley said. "He was a sick individual who had his reasons for doing what he did, and I don't know why and I don't think anyone knows why. He was just sick."