Fallen Provo officer remembered by family, co-workers as dedicated to family, job
Officer Joseph Shinners was remembered by family members and other police officers Wednesday night as a family-oriented man who was dedicated to his job.
Shinners, who died on Saturday after he was shot trying to apprehend a wanted fugitive near a shopping center in Orem, was honored at a candlelight vigil in Provo on Wednesday night. Flowers, balloons, signs and notes were piled high on his patrol car, which was parked just outside the Provo Police Department where the vigil was held.
Shinners, 29, was a three-year veteran on the force and left behind a wife and a 1-year-old son. His fellow officers remembered him as someone who loved his job and did what needed to be done, but who also had a soft side when it came to the people he was dealing with.
“He’s a scrapper, he’s a hockey player. He wasn’t afraid to get in there and take the bad guy to jail and do what he had to do. But, he also was the guy that would give a hug to somebody that was on their way to jail. That’s his character, and that’s who he is,” said Provo Police Chief Rich Ferguson.
Shinners put family and work first, and was the type of officer you wanted by your side on the job.
Officers laughed recalling times Shinners wouldn’t show up to get-togethers because he wanted to spend time with his wife and son, or would show up hours late because his son was “too cute” to put to bed on time.
Though family came first, no one was more focused when on the job. The day before Shinners was killed, fellow Provo officer Jordan Wong recalled how he pushed another officer out of the way to reach a situation first.
“You knew when you went out with Joe that you were going to get into something good,” Wong said. “That you were gonna be protected, that he had your back.”
Shinners was particularly missed during a SWAT operation in Provo just before the vigil, said fellow Provo officer Alex Felsing.
“He would have been the first person in that door,” Felsing said.
But besides being a good co-worker, Shinners was also a good friend, who Felsing said frequently encouraged him during rough times.
“We’re all gonna miss him so much here,” Felsing said. “Everything that makes you happy makes you think of a time that Joe made you laugh so hard you were crying.”
John Shinners, Joe Shinners’ father, said his son cared about everyone he met, including those he arrested.
“My Joey was about love, family, friends and the citizens he served,” John Shinners said. “All of you. His personality touched everyone he met. Even many of the people he had to take downtown here.”
Mike Shinners, also a police officer, said his brother died doing what he loved to do: serving his community. Once his brother is laid to rest, Mike Shinners asked that people continue to support local law enforcement.
“They’re there to serve and protect you and they’re willing to put their lives on the line for you,” Mike Shinners said.
His mother, Kathy Baker, said the loss has devastated the family, but called on people to be a little kinder to each other in his memory.
“This is my simple request,” Baker said. “Let us all be kinder and more loving to each other.”
Ferguson awarded Shinners a posthumous promotion to master officer, saying the man exemplified service and understood sacrifice.
“Joe will never be forgotten, in this community or in this police department,” Ferguson said.
Shinners’ funeral is set for 11 a.m., Saturday, Jan. 12 at the Utah Valley University UCCU Event Center at 800 W. University Parkway, Orem.
Matt Frank Hoover, 40, was arrested on suspicion of firing the shot that killed Shinners. Officials say he will be charged with aggravated murder, attempted aggravated murder, possession of a weapon by a restricted person and possession of methamphetamine.