Eleven months today: widow of fallen Provo police officer shares her story

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In a press conference in Provo City Hall yesterday, Kaylyn Shinners shared her experiences of loss and love over the past year. 

“It’s been a growing year. It’s been a good year to honor my husband. It’s been a long year missing him,” said Shinners. 

Eleven months ago, today, on January 5, 2019, Kaylyn became a widow. Her husband, three-year veteran Provo police officer Joseph Shinners, was shot and killed while pursuing a fugitive; he was the first Provo police officer to die in the line of duty in more than 100 years. 

That night a life was taken, but three days after her husband’s funeral, Kaylyn learned that life was also given — she was pregnant with their second child. At first, Kaylyn felt numb and shocked. 

“It was so different than when I found out I was pregnant with Logan, which was like so much excitement,” said Kaylyn. “And that did come, but it came a lot later. And initially I was just kind of like, ‘Oh my gosh, I’m having another baby.’” 

Looking back, Kaylyn is glad she was having another child because it meant that her older son, Logan, would have someone to go through this with. They could understand each other more than anyone else could.

2-month-old Colton is a lot like his dad. He’s patient, has his nose, and he was born just a day after Officer Shinners would have turned 30 years old. “I’m excited to see as the boys grow up a little bit to kind of see the personality traits of Joe,” said Kaylyn. At this point, she smiled. “I’m a little nervous, because I knew Joe as a teenager.”


In the midst of mourning her husband’s death and caring for two children, Kaylyn has found strength and comfort in her family and friends but also in the support of her husband’s fellow officers, or as she calls them, her “blue family.” She has also found strength in the company of other widows.

“We have all the funny little term—our widow’s club. And we talked about how it’s been the most amazing club to be in, but it’s the club nobody wants to be in,” said Kaylyn. “Once you’re in it, it’s full of all these amazing people. And you’re grateful that they’re there, and you just hope we’re not adding any more members.”

Kaylyn hopes to join the spouses of other fallen police officers in Washington, D.C., for National Police Week next May, when her husband’s name will be added to a memorial wall inscribed with over 21,000 names of other fallen peace officers. 

Provo City will be holding a memorial concert in January to raise money to send the Shinners family and 40 Provo police officers to the Washington, D. C., memorial. Click here to purchase tickets.

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