OREM (ABC 4 News) – Hundreds of people gathered at the UCCU Center for the funeral of the late Provo Master Police Officer Joseph Shinners.
He was the first police officer killed in the line of duty in the United States in 2019 while attempting to arrest a wanted fugitive last Saturday. He was 29 years old and leaves behind a wife and baby boy.
“His life has been very short, too short. But during that time, he’s been exemplary of his service of his fellow man,” said Governor Gary Herbert.
Master Officer Shinners was born on September 25, 1989 in Boston, Massachusetts, but later relocated to Utah, where he attended the University of Utah and Utah Valley University.
He served an LDS mission in El Salvador, where he learned Spanish and returned to visit several years later.
His widow, Kaylyn met him in high school and later joined him in Utah, where they got married in 2012 in the Draper LDS temple. In May 2017, they gave birth to their baby boy, Logan.
Visibly emotional during the service, she still managed to make everyone laugh, to honor her husband’s outgoing and silly personality.
“Joe is the man that loved clean sheets. I was not allowed to get in bed each night without showering first. I had to change my whole routine to be married to him,” she said. “Joe was the man who loved to play soccer and hockey even though he spent 40 percent of the game in the penalty box.”
But she also memorialized the selfless person he was.
“Joe was the man that would come home from work multiple times, telling me he spent $60 for a hotel room, so that someone else had a place to stay,” she said. “Joe was the man that would set his alarm for 8 a.m. after getting home from an overtime shift at 6 a.m. so that he could wake up with our baby and let me sleep.”
Chief Rich Ferguson of the Provo Police Department also shared a lighthearted story about Master Officer Shinners.
“He loved riding motorcycles,” said Chief Ferguson. “During our interview, we asked him if he had any traffic tickets. We knew we had an honest cop in front of us because he smiled and said, ‘Kind of…'”
He called him a hero and a leader, someone who had the unique characteristic of being humble while confident.
“Without reservation, Master Officers Shinners placed himself in a position of danger in an attempt to aid another officer. Master Officer Shinners selflessly sacrificed his life to protect the lives of his fellow officers,” said Chief Ferguson.
Despite the risk police officers know they take when they put on their uniform everyday, Chief Ferguson said the pain of losing a fellow brother in blue is never easy.
“Just like the military, we understand that there’s really two rules in this profession,” said Chief Ferguson. “One rule is good men and women are going to die protecting the peace and civil liberties of everybody. Rule number two is we can’t change rule number one.”
Following the funeral, dozens of law enforcement agencies escorted Master Officer Shinners’ to the cemetery in Springville.
His loved ones said they find comfort in knowing he ‘joined his sister, Caroline in heaven,’ who passed away years ago.