WEST DES MOINES, Iowa – West Des Moines Officer Shawn Miller was posthumously promoted Monday night after he was killed in a motorcycle accident while on the job in August.
Officer Miller was a 26-veteran of the police department and was preparing to be promoted to the rank of sergeant.
However, a lot has changed in the West Des Moines Police Department since Aug. 3.
“He touched the department in so many ways, there is a big void and everybody knows it,” said Sgt. Brent Kock of the West Des Moines Police Department.
But for those who knew him best -- one thing about Miller still stands out.
“You can tell a man`s character by what he would do or what he does when he thinks nobody’s looking,” said Blayne Miller, Shawn’s brother.
It was that character trait that filled the West Des Moines City Council Chambers.
Before dozens of Miller's family and fellow officers, Chief Shaun LaDue promoted Officer Miller to Sergeant.
“This posthumous award is public recognition in which we will forever honor him by engraving his name in the Police Hall of Fame so that is his sacrifice and dedication to humanity and justice will be remembered for generations to come,” said Chief Shaun LaDue.
The mayor even gave the Miller's the key to the city. The family says they never expected all of this but it’s this type of support that has got them through some deep trenches.
Those are trenches Miller's younger brother says he's still walking through.
“Just everyday life, bouncing things off him. I won’t be able to do that anymore,” said Blayne. “I have one of his old police shirts that rides shotgun with me now so that way every day I am reminded of him.”
The department is reminded of him daily too as Miller's police number is now etched onto the squad cars and his photo forever hanging on the department’s wall of recognition as a sergeant.
One of the things Sergeant Miller's family says meant more to him than being promoted was his education. He was in the process of earning a Master's Degree at Drake University when he was killed.
The university is in the works of awarding the family his degree.