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Scott G Winterton, KSL

Officials: Provo police officer killed in line of duty 'exemplified nobility of policing'

By Yvette Cruz, KSL.com | Updated - Jan 6th, 2019 @ 5:10pm | Posted - Jan 6th, 2019 @ 2:16pm


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SALT LAKE CITY — Officials on Sunday said a Provo police officer who was killed Saturday night while trying to apprehend a fugitive in Orem "exemplified the nobility of policing."

Joseph Shinners, 29, was shot in the line of duty just before 10 p.m. Saturday near the Bed Bath and Beyond in Orem located at 50 W. University Parkway.

Shinners was transported to Utah Valley Hospital in critical condition but died from his injuries just before midnight, according to Rich Ferguson, Provo chief of police.

Shinners, a Boston area native, was a 3-year veteran to the department and assigned to the patrol division. He was a field training officer, a member of the department's bicycle patrol and a member of the SWAT team. He was also a husband and a father to a 1-year-old boy, Ferguson said.

During the apprehension, the fugitive was also shot at least once and transported to Utah Valley Hospital. The fugitive, whose name was not released Sunday out of respect for Shinners' death, is under armed supervision and in stable condition at the hospital, Ferguson said.

Officials believe the fugitive, a 40-year-old man, was homeless or living with friends in the area. The fugitive was known to have been making violent threats to police officers in the past, according to Orem Police Chief Gary Giles.

During a press conference Sunday, Ferguson gave Shinners a posthumous promotion to the rank of master officer. He said Shinners "exemplifies sacrifice and service" and described him as intelligent, honorable, hard-working and "decent in every single way."

"He exemplified the nobility of policing," Ferguson said. "He was the very best of the Provo Police Department."

The police vehicle belonging to fallen Provo police officer Joseph Shinners sits outside the department on Sunday, Jan. 6, 2019. (Photo: Sean Moody, KSL TV)
Flowers are left on the police vehicle belonging to fallen Provo police officer Joseph Shinners on Sunday, Jan. 6, 2019. (Photo: Sean Moody, KSL TV)

Shinners came from a family of service. His father is a retired firefighter and his brother is a police officer in Massachusetts, Ferguson said.

"He understands sacrifice," Ferguson added. "He is the officer who you would want to show up at your door in your biggest crucible moment."

Giles said that when a police officer is killed in the line of duty, it's not just the family or the profession that loses someone they love — "it's a piece of our society."

"Officer Shinners represents every one of us. He represents every one of us who enjoys peace, who enjoy freedom. And today, a little bit of that peace and freedom is eroded away," he said.


He understands sacrifice. He is the officer who you would want to show up at your door in your biggest crucible moment.

–Provo Police Chief Rich Ferguson


Ferguson called the incident "a tragic time for the Provo Police Department" and urged the public to "continue to value your police officers."

"Continue to love and support officers."

He also expressed gratitude to his fellow officers for their service to the community.

"To the members of the Provo Police Department who put on this uniform every day, I say I love you, I respect you, I honor you," Ferguson said while choking up. "Because in a world where not many are willing to step up and take an oath of office to guard their citizen, to guard their fellow man at this time — you are. And I'm so proud of you."

Provo Mayor Michelle Kaufusi also spoke on Sunday and directed a message to Shinners' wife, Kaylyn.

"I'm terribly, terribly sorry," she said through tears. "You surely helped make Joe who he was, Kaylyn, and we're part of what he lived for and now has honorably laid down his life for."

Kaufusi thanked Ferguson and all officers for their service and called on citizens to show gratitude and a "profound respect" for police officers as well as their families.


He represents every one of us who enjoys peace, who enjoy freedom. And today, a little bit of that peace and freedom is eroded away.

–Orem Police Chief Gary Giles


Two GoFundMe accounts have been set up to help Shinners' family with future expenses — one by his friends* and one by his family*.

"Joe was always the first to volunteer whenever anyone needed help or if there was anything to be done," it said on one of the GoFundMe pages.

The Orem Police Department will be handling the criminal investigation and a parallel investigation will be conducted by the Utah County Officer Involved Protocol Team.

Contributing: Cara MacDonald, KSL.com

*KSL.com does not assure that the money deposited to the account will be applied for the benefit of the persons named as beneficiaries. If you are considering a deposit to the account, you should consult your own advisors and otherwise proceed at your own risk.

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