• Today's Daily Devotion
Prisoners in Our Own Prison
IN THE EARLY morning hours of May 8, we were scurrying about making breakfast preparations for the 2,700-plus inmates in the Oklahoma County Detention Center. Unknown to us ...

PRISONERS IN OUR OWN PRISON

Deputy Sheriff Eric Haskins

Oklahoma County, OK, Sheriff’s Office

IN THE EARLY morning hours of May 8, we were scurrying about making breakfast preparations for the 2,700-plus inmates in the Oklahoma County Detention Center. Unknown to us, three inmates from the Special Housing Unit (SHU) were making preparations of their own. Two were awaiting trial for first-degree murder, and the third for several other serious charges. They had taken two guards, their clothing, and duty belts. Using the guards’ keys they tried to access the unsecure side of the jail in the basement, but could not. When they forced an officer to call over his radio for the door to be opened, the officer gave subtle clues that something was wrong.

The inmates took their hostages back to the second floor, where they captured two more guards. When I arrived I saw a man in a uniform like mine, but when I was within an arm’s length he pulled a homemade knife (“shank”), and forced me into a hallway. There I saw four co-workers handcuffed and kneeling on the floor. My lieutenant had a shank to his neck, and soon we both were handcuffed. Then two more guards were taken. So many thoughts race through your head at such a time. My lieutenant and I shared a moment of “We can take these guys,” but when you see your co-workers handcuffed and defenseless, guarded by a man with a shank, you set your bravado aside and do what you can to ensure the safety of your fellow officers.

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Two more friends were taken by surprise, and one was stripped of his uniform and duty gear. Six of us were locked in a visitation room, and my lieutenant and another officer were taken downstairs as a human shield. Though the inmates were just a few feet away from a waiting ride, civilian clothing, weapons, and the freedom they craved so much, so, too, was an armed deputy sheriff. He drew down on the first two inmates as they tried to reach freedom, and drew again when the last inmate made it downstairs. Soon these three very dangerous criminals were back in custody.

It was by the grace of God no one was injured or killed. I believe that if the hand of God had not covered us that night, the whole situation would have gone a lot worse. I praise him for his providence!


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