It is with deep sadness that we report Federal Protective Service Inspector Steve Yewcic has passed away following a battle with cancer on January 26, 2019 in Spokane, Washington. He was surrounded by friends and family.
Steve was a mountain of a man, whose imposing strength and often gruff demeanor belied a quick wit, warm heart, artistic soul, and a scholar’s intellect. Born and raised in Southwestern Pennsylvania, he served twenty years in the United States Air Force protecting vital American interests at home and abroad as a Security Forces Master Sergeant and canine handler. Alongside his military career he held law enforcement commissions from several municipal agencies where he worked as a reserve officer. Following his retirement from the Air Force, Steve worked briefly as a Federal Air Marshal and then came to the Federal Protective Service where he served as a Lieutenant and Inspector in the Spokane Washington office since 2002 and was a plank holder in the newly formed US Department of Homeland Security.
He was heavily involved his community and people referred to him as the “underground mayor of Spokane” due to his deep network of trusted friends and work partners and the many informal discussion meetings he hosted, usually over pancakes at a local restaurant. He held a wide range of interests, both professional and personal; was an adjunct survival instructor at Fairchild Air Force Base teaching aviators and Special Operations personnel, loved his dogs and was passionate about Schutzhund training, and was an avid fisherman, golfer, and outdoorsman. As a law enforcement officer, he was the full package; brave, tough, tactically proficient, unflappably calm in dangerous situations, and an excellent communicator. These abilities led to his receiving many professional awards over the course of his career including the Marksmanship Award, and Directors Award from FLETC, Physical Security Award, and a Quality Step Increase. His artistic abilities are reflected in the FPS Region 10 challenge coin, the graduation shirt for his FLETC police academy class, and Region 10 Shooting Team logos, all of which he designed.
Steve was an expert Firearms Instructor who was the first to win the Distinguished Marksmanship award during the Mixed Police Basic Training Program at FLETC Artesia’s notoriously tricky outdoor range. He proposed and then led the formation of a joint DHS competition shooting team that competed in the US Marshal’s annual 3 Gun Competition supporting Special Olympics. He was widely recognized as being among the very best at his profession, but was always working to be better. He was a graduate of Gonzaga University and received his Masters of Public Administration Degree from Eastern Washington University. He wrote on a wide range of topics, was often requested to serve on national level working groups, and was consulted by friends, coworkers, and superiors on a wide range of topics who valued his expertise on security and law enforcement topics. As the District Intelligence Officer, he personally wrote and distributed a highly-regarded newsletter that kept federal judges, agency heads, and stakeholders abreast of important information, and he was selected for several leadership details as Area Commander, and Regional Training Program Manager.
Steve is survived by his beloved family, wife Robin, and son Josh. He will be sorely missed by everyone who knew him.
Gabriel Russell is a Regional Director with the Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Protective Service. He retired as a Command Sergeant Major from the Army National Guard, and is Founder and Managing Partner Emeritus at Takouba Security, and a volunteer at Code 4 Northwest. He has a Master of Science Degree from Central Washington. The views here are entirely his own and do not represent the position of the Department of Homeland Security, the Army National Guard, or Takouba Security.