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Lord’s work part of his beat

Manteca Police officer, wife serve as ministers

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Lord’s work part of his beat

Manteca Police Gang Officer Jason Hensley and his wife Heidi of 15 years share their common drive in helping others. Hensley is an associate pastor of the Quail Lakes Baptist Church in Stockton wh...

GLENN KAHL/The Bulletin


POSTED November 26, 2009 2:20 a.m.
It’s a labor of love in police work, and of the ministry for one Manteca police officer and his wife.  

Jason and Heidi Hensley are inseparable, and they constantly reflect the other’s caring character and personality in their devotion to helping others in police work as well as in their Baptist Church community.   
They share a common magnetism in their personal and in their professional lives – and it’s obvious they truly care as they touch lives in their day-to-day contacts.

Officer Hensely has been assigned to Manteca’s gang task force, and now he had taken on the supervision of the department’s chaplaincy corps of religious ministers.  An ordained minister in his own right, he is currently an associate pastor with the Quail Lakes Baptist Church in Stockton where his wife works 30 hours a week as director of the children’s ministry.

Heidi Hensley has recently joined the other chaplains at the Manteca Police Department where she is on call to deal with emergencies where victims need the healing touch of a caring minister.  Just this past week she and her husband took part in delivering Thanksgiving dinner boxes to families who might otherwise not have anything on their tables.

Hensley said it was the first time he and his wife were in a police car together.

The gang officer said the biggest single hurdle for his wife in joining the chaplaincy program was that she could not wear her stiletto high heel shoes on police calls.  He said she always dresses professionally and loves her collection of dress shoes.

Hensley also chuckled when he remembered marrying Heidi at 18.  He said one minute she was in the church youth group, and the next she was the wife of a senior church pastor – quite a sudden change in roles for her.

Heidi Hensley oversees 300 youth at their church
She volunteered in the position of a part-time children’s minister five years ago and continued in that role when they moved to the Stockton-based Baptist Church.  The then current director of the children’s ministry left the church shortly after they arrived, and she took over that position.  Under her direction there are some 200 to 300 children, a dozen paid staff members, and 200 volunteers.
He said he continues to be in awe at his wife’s ability to “balance everything in her life”  from being a football mom,  and a chaplain, along with her love for aerobics that she teaches three to five times each week.  “She’s just a phenomenal wife,” he said, “and she can cook, and she loves to teach.”

“Right now she’s making pumpkin rolls and fish tacos,” he beamed with a grin as though could smell them baking. “he already cooked the turkey – we’ve been eating it for a week,” he quipped.

The Manteca officer said he teaches the fifth and sixth graders under her ministry at Sunday school, and serves on her ministry board.  “She’s not only my boss at home, but also my boss at church,” he mused.

He added that he first served as a chaplain for the Hughson Police Department in past years, as well as for the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department, and the California Highway Patrol.

The Free Will Baptist Church was the first church he pastored.  At the Fairfield church he served as the associate pastor.  He was also the senior pastor in Hughson, and senior pastor at the Free Will Baptist Church in Exeter.  

Hensley went to work for the Escalon Police Department a number of years ago where he was assigned to patrol duties.  After several years there he was accepted in a lateral transfer joining the Manteca Police Department.

The Manteca department is currently adding eight more chaplains to its force following an in- house chaplains’ academy that was directed by Detective Sgt. Tony Souza along with the assistance of Senior Chaplain Jim Day, and Hensley.  Heidi Hensley also taught in the academy.  Retired Manteca Police Detective Sergeant Dave Thompson also serves as a chaplain.

Prior to going into law enforcement, Hensley was active in coaching as a personal hobby.  It has paid off for now that he and Heidi have two sons, Jonah, 7, and “L J” Little Jason, 13.

 “We teach them the basics in everything – if we don’t they will get hurt, and it’s sometimes five times a week,” he said.

It was that experience in coaching that probably had something to do with the Tokay Junior Tigers going all the way to their Super Bowl experience recently.

“We’ve always done the ministry together.  Now I’m overseeing the chaplains program – and she can be in with me,” he said.

Hensley became an ordained minister after attending the California Christian College in Fresno.
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