Retiring Aberdeen Police Department Chief Steve Shumate thanks city, family

After serving 33 years in law enforcement, Aberdeen Police Chief Steve Shumate’s family is glad to have him home.

Shumate’s wife Mandy, his mother Charlotte, and his younger sister Cindy Stutesman, were proudly in attendance for a ceremony on Wednesday, June 22, at the Aberdeen City Council meeting. Shumate is retiring on Thursday, June 30.

Mandy, who started dating Shumate in 1983, has seen her husband serve in law enforcement since the beginning, when he was 21 years old. Now, she’s ready to have him home every night.

“I’m excited for him,” Mandy said. “I’m excited for our family. We have lots of plans. He’s gonna be busy in retirement. He might want to go back. He’s gonna be so busy.”

Before Shumate took to the wooden lectern with the Aberdeen logo on it, Mayor Pete Schave thanked him for his years of service and presented him with a plaque.

“Retired for service, Chief Shumate,” the plaque read. “In appreciation of your 33 years serving the citizens of Grays Harbor and 4 years as the Chief of Police of the City of Aberdeen. Thank you Chief Shumate.”

After shaking Schave’s hand, Shumate thanked Aberdeen and Grays Harbor County’s residents, Schave, the City Council, and his other department heads, such as retired Aberdeen Fire Department Chief Tom Hubbard, who was in attendance in civilian clothes, and Hoquiam Police Department Chief Jeff Myers.

“It’s been an emotional couple weeks for me,” Shumate said. “I started when I was 21. It feels like that first 20-25 years just flew by, and then someone nearby convinced me to pursue the Aberdeen (police chief) job, and I got lucky and got it. Four years later, here I am.”

Shumate, who served as a Grays Harbor Sheriff’s Office deputy before he was appointed chief, said he’s ready for a break.

Myers, who served with Shumate as a Grays Harbor Sheriff’s deputy, said Thursday, June 23, Shumate was poised to take the sheriff role but the position was not available, so he switched from wearing green — the sheriff’s office’s primary color — to blue — APD’s primary color. Myers talked with Shumate through the process of deciding whether or not to switch from serving the county to Aberdeen. Myers seems to think Shumate’s decision to switch was the right choice.

“(He) has served Aberdeen with distinction and honor for the last four years,” Myers said. “Steve made monumental changes at APD because of his calm and professional leadership. He is a detail-oriented person, who takes extensive notes and is known for his unwavering integrity.”

In Shumate’s speech, he also thanked his staff at APD.

“Those who I wish to recognize and (who) deserve the most credit are truly the members of the Aberdeen Police Department, and I consider our family to (include) our explorers, as well as our volunteers,” he said. “That includes support staff, corrections division, our commissioned officers, and my administrative staff who keeps me out of trouble. Thank you for that. I certainly appreciate all you do.”

Shumate called it an “absolute honor,” to serve the residents and to serve with the different levels of emergency management.

“I am simply amazed at the dedication and professionalism that we have with the members of our agency,” he said about APD. “Not only are we the busiest agency in the county, but we are getting busier. We dealt with certain challenges that not all agencies within our county have to deal with.”

Shumate added that in his four years at APD, 20 police officers have left, with 16 of them retiring. Of the other four, one left and came back, one didn’t make it through the training program, and two went to other agencies.

“That is significant, because the majority of our officers have stayed here for their entire careers,” Shumate said.

Then, in his dress blues and shiny gold stars and shield present, the chief thanked his family.

“I could not have done this for the past 33 years had it not been for my family,” Shumate said. “I have tonight with me my mother Charlotte, my sister Cindy, and my wife Mandy.”

Mandy, who’s been with Shumate for 39 years, and married 34, was the one who got Shumate to start the testing process into law enforcement.

“Now, here I am, almost 55,” he said. “But, thank you very much dear. I love you and I love my family.”

Shumate, who sat for his final City Council meeting as city staff, said he’ll miss the people, but he’s glad to get back his Wednesday nights. That means, more time with the family, which is all his wife, mother, and sister want. Clearly, that’s what excites Shumate, too. And, he doesn’t seem to think it’ll take much to adjust to retirement.

“I have grandkids on the way, and grandkids I’m going to be visiting, so I’m going to do just fine,” he said. “But I’m not moving out of the area, so I’m going to be visiting them often.”

Mandy said Shumate has a lot of ideas on what is next for him. She told him he just needs to find something that makes him happy and doesn’t feel like work. Even though he was “very happy” in law enforcement, she said it was stressful.

Mandy, who’s a nurse at Summit Pacific Medical Center, said it’ll be great to have him around more, but she’s still working.

“It’s going to be great to have him home in the evening,” she said. “He promised to make me dinner every night. (I’m) pretty excited about that.”

Charlotte couldn’t have looked more proud of her son. She was beaming.

“I’m over the moon,” she said. “I’m so proud of him. He’s done a lot. He’s done a lot for the family, too.”

Charlotte’s glad Shumate’s career in law enforcement is ending, because he’s put a lot of time in throughout his career.

“He’s done a wonderful job,” she said. “I’m glad he’s retiring so he can travel.”

Stutesman is also happy for her brother to head into retirement.

“We’re just super proud of him and we’ve been looking forward to this, especially the last couple years, since things have been a little different in the police force,” she said. “We’re just super excited to see him retire.”

Stutesman noted the fond memories her brother has shared from serving Grays Harbor County and Aberdeen, and how he’s accomplished an “enormous amount” of things.

“I often say, Steve is one person I know who sets a goal and meets it,” Stutesman said. “I don’t think he’s ever set a goal that he hasn’t met. We lean on him for the family, and he’s just a great guy, so we’re excited for him.”

Myers, who is retiring Friday, July 1, has known Shumate since 1989. He’s excited for his friend as they both will soon finish their careers in law enforcement.

“As we both sail off into the sunset, we will continue to be friends and will have even more time to take family trips together, go hiking, share grandchildren stories and go snowmobiling,” Myers said. “It has been an honor to serve with Steve.”