Diane Shines is the highest ranking civilian employee of the Federal Way Police Department, and has been with Federal Way since day one.
Shines, the department’s Civilians Operations Manager, began her career with Federal Way in October 1996. As one of the founding members of the department, Shines has seen the department grow and evolve into the entity it is today.
Shines graduated from Western Washington University with a bachelor’s degree in history and soon found temporary work at the front counter of the city jail in Kent facilitating visitations and other administrative duties. A short time later, she applied for a full-time job with Federal Way police.
“It was interesting working in a start-up law enforcement agency,” she said. “Everything was brand new. I remember the first warrant we ever had in the system. We were so excited.”
“It was from the ground up. We just made it our own,” she said.
A majority of founding members — both civilian staff and officers — are still with the department, although several have retired in recent years. The previous leadership, especially Cathy Schrock, helped Shines become the person she is today, she said.
Shines began as a records specialist, working graveyard shifts and later moving up to a records supervisor position where she managed all the shifts.
In 2012, Shines was promoted to be the records administrator where she was responsible for managing the records units and public records, ensuring that officers, staff and volunteers maintain their certifications. She also assisted with IT department issues.
In 2018, Shines stepped into the former position of Schrock, assisting with media requests, coordinating records, managing property and evidence, and overseeing patrol administration.
“I enjoy what I do and the people I work with,” she said. “It’s nice to have familiar faces from the very beginning and still work with those people because the police department is my second family.”
Celebrating 24 years with FWPD this October, Shines said she’s seen the department become more engaged with the community, hire more women and hold steady to their honor of protecting the Federal Way community.
“I feel like it’s my place working there and I have something to contribute,” she said of FWPD.
In this position as civilian operations manager, Shines — a self-described introvert who shies away from the spotlight — has been able to get out of her comfort zone and get to know the community of Federal Way through various events, such as the Run with the Cops 5K or Coffee with a Cop.
Some memories with the department that stand out are those of heartbreak, such as the 2003 death of Officer Patrick Maher. Maher was shot while breaking up a fight on Aug. 2, 2003, in Federal Way. Maher died after undergoing two surgeries at Harborview Medical Center and became the first Federal Way officer killed in the line of duty.
His death was a difficult time that brought the department closer, Shines said, emotion taking over her voice.
“You don’t want these things to happen … We recognize him every year,” she said. “It certainly had an effect on our agency.”
During the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic, Shines has continued to come into the station every day and has worked on weekends as necessary to support her staff and be a true leader. Her willingness to “drop everything and help out as needed” reflects the pride she takes in her role with the department.
Shines never set out to be a teacher, but her career with Federal Way police has given her the ability to provide guidance while helping people understand what they’re doing and how important their work is to the community.