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The Hensleys 

What can I say about the Hensleys? A father/son team that went from one coaching the other in how to swing a bat to the other coaching on arrest control techniques. Seems pretty cool to me.

Dennis and Justin have one of those father/son relationships that is as American as Apple Pie – not quite Andy Griffith but one to be envied. Growing up, Dennis coached Justin and his friends in little league. Dennis did such a great job coaching Justin that Justin went on to play college baseball and tried out for the major leagues.

Playing baseball at this level teaches you something, the willingness to push your body, but more importantly your mind, to do more, be more. That when you fail, you brush off the dirt and try again. This was an important lesson for Justin and has served him well.

After college and baseball, Justin worked in his father-in-law’s upholstery shop when his friend encouraged him to apply at Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office in Golden, Colorado. And he did apply - four times. Those lessons in baseball came back to him - get up, brush off the dirt and do it again. And again until you get it right.

Since being hired at JeffCo, he has worked six years in maximum security and is one of the deputies on SORT (Special Operations Response Team). When asked what his best technique is in maximum, his answer is, “listening”. As you can imagine, life can get pretty hairy in max security and it is important to maintain peace – in there Justin learned that by listening to the inmates, and responding accordingly, he could avoid physical confrontations. This doesn’t mean that it never happens, but it does lessen the number of them.

I think he may have learned the listening skill from his father, Dennis. Dennis was listening when Justin would be talking at family dinners and get togethers about his job in detentions. The more he listened, the more he learned, the more intrigued he became.

Dennis worked 34 years for Denver Public Schools as a mechanic and retired as a fleet manager. With all that time on his hands he felt that he needed a fun, part-time job. Hanging out at his daughter’s softball games he got to know her team from Bass Pro Shops. Little did he know that hanging out with the team would be his interview to work part time in the camping department. Within a few months he got promoted to mid-management – which he swore he would never manage again – and worked there for ten years.

But then there were those family dinners, Justin talking about his job and what they were up to. They were hiring again, and Justin told his dad he should go for it. “Nah. They aren’t going to hire and old guy,” was Dennis’ response. Justin told him to just give it a shot. So he did.

Dennis gives full kudos to Justin on him being hired, he believes that the reputation that Justin earned at the Sheriff’s Office was key in helping him to get hired – on the first try.

Before Dennis accepted the position, he sat down with Justin and asked him how he felt about working side by side with his “old man” and Justin responded with, “Dad, it would be my honor.”

It is our honor to share this story and we want to thank the Hensley team for their service.

Watch their story.

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