Tahlequah is a small town in eastern Oklahoma, located at the foothills of the Ozark Mountains about 65 miles east of Tulsa. One wouldn’t think a murderer lurked on the streets of the quaint picturesque town. But one did. On Wednesday evening, October 18th, Jordan Hensley shot three people at a house on West Choctaw Street. Two of the victims died at the scene. Hensley fled on foot to the other side of town, where he tried to avoid apprehension by blending in with diners at a Braum’s Restaurant. Off-duty Officer Ohavyah Soto was one of those diners.
Officer Soto noticed a couple patrol cruisers drive past and she checked a PD app on her phone that provides officers updates in real time. Hensley was listed as a suspect in the murders. Officer Soto told her dinner companions, “Oh, man, I know this kid, I just dealt with him last month!” They responded, “That’s crazy!” The party finished their meal and was leaving the restaurant when Soto saw Hensley. “I glanced over and saw a guy standing there, and then when we locked eyes, I immediately recognized who it was. I knew it was Jordan Hensley,” she said.
Soto grabbed Hensley to arrest him, but he took a swing at her and twisted his arm breaking her grip and fled. Soto pursued on foot. Soon on-duty officers joined in the pursuit. Hensley scaled a couple fences but was soon apprehended by other Tahlequah officers.
Officer Soto was awarded the Medal of Valor by the Tahlequah City Council for pursuing a murder suspect while off duty. Reflecting on the ordeal, Officer Soto laughed and said she just naturally went into “cop mode.” She also commented, “As a Christian, I just believe that God is in control of everything, and everything happens for a reason. I feel like he had me there for that reason.”
These are just more “things” America’s law enforcement officers do, whether on or off duty. And Officer Soto is right, God is in control. Until the final judgment day, God keeps evil in check and one way he does is through his ministers. “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment” (Rom. 13:1-2).
SBL On the Road
The month of November I was on standby for jury duty at the federal district court in Pocatello, ID. Hence, I had not planned any travel for the month (rather I’d planned on doing a lot of writing as mentioned below). But as we know, “The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.” On November 3, my father went to be with the Lord and a couple days later my mom was admitted to the hospital for a serious medical condition. I jumped in my truck and headed for Texas. Sherry caught a flight a couple days later. Mom was released from the hospital, and we buried Dad at the Ft. Sam Houston National Cemetery on November 15th. Please pray for Mom’s adjustment to living without Dad and taking care of Steve, the youngest son who has Down’s syndrome.
Changes in the New Year
We are in the process of filing for 501(c)(3) non-profit status with the IRS. Idaho has already recognized the Strong Blue Line Foundation, Inc. (SBLF) as a non-profit organization. What do the changes mean? We trust they will open more opportunities to serve the law enforcement community across the nation. The goal is for the SBLF to fund operational and travel expenses for training events, books, retreats, and cooperation with other first-responder service organizations. Also, we are trusting Sherry will be able to come on board and help full time.
Clarity Christian College
Earlier this year, Jon Sperling, the Director of Education for Clarity Christian College (CCC), asked me to help write curriculum for a law enforcement chaplains’ basic training academy. The 30 to 40-hour course will be certified through CCC. We started writing in September and we plan to write through the fall and into next year.
Pray for your police.