Law enforcement careers in Nebraska are available at the state, county, and city levels. Positions with the many respected police departments, county sheriff’s offices and the state patrol are available to qualified candidates with the drive and dedication to serve and protect their local communities, and who have no criminal record, history of drug use or unpaid debts.
Jobs and Training with the Nebraska State Patrol
The Nebraska State Patrol is in a constant battle with drivers on highways and interstates to reduce the amount of serious and fatal vehicular accidents. In 2018 Nebraska saw 231 traffic fatalities, up from the previous year’s 226. The NSP also has a unique multicultural awareness program that acts as a reassurance between the NSP and local community that troopers do not engage in racial profiling. Trooper applicants must be able to cover any tattoos, piercings, brandings, or other body art with their uniform, or they will not be considered for employment.
Sheriff’s Department Law Enforcement Jobs in Nebraska
In a largely rural state like Nebraska, it takes a large law enforcement presence outside the major metro areas to uphold the law. This is where the country sheriff’s offices come in, serving the law enforcement needs of the large unincorporated areas outside the city corridors.
In 1857 the first Douglas County Sheriff assumed office, starting a line of succession that would see 30 more sheriffs up to the present day. Today the DC Sheriff’s Department is the largest in the state, with 129 sworn officers. Sheriff’s deputy job applicants must go through the Morrow and Associates human resources agency which contracts the application process for the DC Sheriff’s Department.
Founded in 1861, the Lancaster County Sheriff’s Department is Nebraska’s sixth largest and most well funded law enforcement agency, with a budget of over $12 million. It employs 104 staff members, 77 of whom are commissioned personnel. Deputy applicants must have had an honorable discharge from the military, if applicable.
The Sarpy County Sheriff’s Office is responsible for an impound lot, a juvenile detention center, and a county jail. To be considered for employment, the applicant must pass the Sarpy Exclusive Law Enforcement Combined Test (SELECT), administered by Morrow and Associates. Additionally, the deputy sheriff candidate must be able to read and comprehend at an 11th-grade level.
Municipal Police Jobs in Nebraska
In the heart of Nebraska’s largest cities, municipal police departments work to uphold the law. The largest of those agencies are:
During 2017, the Omaha Police Department received an average of 665 calls for service each day, with an average response time of just under six minutes on Priority I calls. The department conducted nearly 40,000 traffic stops during that same period. Police officer candidates must be able to read and write at an 11th-grade level.
The 500 employees of the Lincoln Police Department are responsible for maintaining law and order in a city of over 284,000 residents, with an area covering 75 square miles. Recently officers arrested a woman accused of keeping cars she had taken out for test drives. The Lincoln PD’s training procedures are certified by the Nebraska Law Enforcement Training Center, and follow the same admission requirements.
The Bellevue Police Department is active in the Bellevue Police Community Foundation which aims to strengthen the community by bringing community leaders, non-profit organizations, and philanthropists together. Funds are pooled and released back to the community in the form of grants for organizations identified to be the most beneficial to the city. Currently the city employs 98 police officers, and prospective candidates for employment are preferred to have a college degree, while military service is also regarded.
The Grand Island Police Department takes the appearance of its city seriously. It is against the law for citizens to allow grass or weeds to grow over 12 inches, to park a car on the lawn of a house, or to keep cars without valid and current license plates on residential properties. Police officers are responsible for protecting the safety and well-being of the 51,390 residents. Police officer candidates are preferred to have a college degree.
The Kearney Police Department places a special emphasis on domestic violence, citing statistics that the leading cause of injury to women between 14 and 44 is domestic violence, and 52% of murdered females are killed by their own partners. The Kearney PD hires officers who can carry out their job duties with respect and dignity.
Nebraska Law Enforcement Salaries
The Bureau of Labor Statistics shows an average hourly wage of $27.66 for patrol officers in Nebraska for 2018, or about $57,530 per year. At the top end, they can bring in $77,940, or $37.47 per hour.
The following data comes directly from the agencies listed, reflecting the most recent data available, but not later than 2019. Because of the way different agencies structure their departments, various titles and roles are used, and different promotional schemes are in play. We’ve isolated entry, mid-level, and senior level salaries, where available, where the low-end is post-probationary period, and the high end may reflect lieutenant, captain, or investigator-grade salaries.
Numbers do not reflect bonus, hazard, or overtime pay, although those are often significant sources of compensation in many departments.
Police Officer Salaries
Municipal departments in Nebraska often reflect the small-town sensibilities of the state, with relatively low entry-level salaries. In larger cities, like Lincoln and Omaha, it’s easy to break the 90th percentile salary for the state in senior level positions.
- Grand Island Police Department
- Entry – $21.98/hr
- Mid-level – $30.63/hr
- Senior – $41.31/hr
- Kearney Police Department
- Entry – $22.99/hr
- Lincoln Police Department
- Entry – $53,944/yr
- Senior – $76,254/yr
- Omaha Police Department
- Entry – $26.60/hr
- Mid-level – $43.88/hr
- Senior – $59.14/hr
Sheriff’s Deputy Salaries
Sheriff’s departments in Nebraska make up the bulk of agencies covering the state, and pay in most areas tends to hover around the average. Mid-level ranks can approach the state 90th percentile salary, however, particularly in places like Sarpy County.
- Douglas County Sheriff
- Entry – $22.01/hr
- Mid-level – $33.30/hr
- Senior – $46.29/hr
- Lancaster County Sheriff
- Entry – $24.27/hr
- Senior – $34.37/hr
- Sarpy County Sheriff
- Entry – $26.24/hr
- Mid-level – $34.74/hr
- Senior – $54.45/hr
State Trooper and State Police Salaries
Nebraska state troopers are some of the most well-trained law enforcement officers in the state, and their relatively high salary levels reflect it. While the high end of base pay for troopers is $33.97/hr, promotion to sergeant or work in investigations raises the numbers considerably.
- Nebraska State Patrol
- Entry – $22.38/hr
- Mid-level – $34.78/hr
- Senior – $46.02/hr
Salary and employment data compiled by the United States Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics in May of 2018. Figures represent accumulated data for all areas of employment for medical and health services managers – https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_ne.htm#11-9111.
BLS salary data represents state and MSA (Metropolitan Statistical Area) average and median earnings for the occupations listed and includes workers at all levels of education and experience. This data does not represent starting salaries. Employment conditions in your area may vary.
Agency-level salary and employment data was sourced directly from the municipal, county and state law enforcement agencies named and reflects the specific salary ranges and seniority- or rank-based pay described by the respective agency.
All salary and employment data accessed in August 2019.