Law Enforcement Careers in Nebraska

According to a 2019 report by the Nebraska Commission on Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice, Nebraska had about 3,832 sworn officers with about 249 vacancies. Of this total, 1,043 were full-time sheriff’s deputies, 2,213 were full-time officers in police departments, and 576 were officers employed with state agencies.

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Along with a course of training and education that’s part of the recruitment process in any state, municipal, or county agency, you can turn your passion for justice and a desire to serve and protect the public into a gratifying and fulfilling career on the front lines of Nebraska’s law enforcement efforts.

Nebraska State Patrol Jobs

The Nebraska State Patrol works around the clock 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 at least 21 years old (at the time the oath is taken), they must be a U.S. citizen, and they must hold a high school diploma or GED. Candidates must also be in good physical and mental condition, which includes possessing good hearing and vision.

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 county sheriff’s offices come in, serving the law enforcement needs of the large unincorporated areas outside the city corridors.

Douglas County

With 129 sworn officers, the Douglas County Sheriff’s Department is the largest in the state.

Qualified candidates have no felony or domestic violence convictions, no pattern of traffic violations, a strong credit history, a solid employment history, and no history of substance abuse.

Lancaster County

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.

The hiring process here includes completing a written exam, passing a physical exam, and passing an oral interview.

Sarpy County

The Sarpy County Sheriff’s Office is responsible for an impound lot, a juvenile detention center, and a county jail.

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To be considered for employment, applicants must pass the Sarpy Exclusive Law Enforcement Combined Test (SELECT), administered by Morrow and Associates. Basic requirements include being at least 21 years old, holding a valid driver’s license for the past two years, holding a high school diploma or GED, and being in good physical and mental health.

Municipal Police Jobs in Nebraska

In the heart of Nebraska’s largest cities, municipal police departments work to uphold the law. While many of these law enforcement officials are assigned to patrol duties, most agencies employ special units and divisions that include everything from investigations to K-9 to motorcycle patrol units.


The Omaha Police Department, the largest agency in the state, consists of 821 sworn officers. 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 meet minimum qualifications and successfully complete a written exam, physical agility exam, and background investigation to qualify to attend police academy training.


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.

To qualify for employment as a Lincoln police officer, candidates must possess a high school diploma, be a U.S. citizen, be at least 21 years old, and must have no felony or domestic violence convictions.


The Bellevue Police Department, which is home to 98 sworn officers, 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.

Prospective candidates must be at least 20 years (and at least 21 by the time of police academy graduation). They must also hold a high school diploma or GED and have no felony or serious misdemeanor conditions. Candidates with college degrees and military service are preferred.

Grand Island

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.

The hiring process here includes passing a background investigation, physical fitness evaluation, civil service written exam, medical examination, and panel interview.


The officers of the Kearney Police Department work in either patrol or investigations, with the investigations division including a number of specialized units, including hostage negotiations, honor guard, and more.

Candidates must be at least 21 years old, must possess a high school diploma or GED, and be in good physical condition.

Nebraska Law Enforcement Salaries

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that as of May 2021, law enforcement officers in Nebraska earned an average salary of $62,530.

The following police/sheriff’s department salary data was sourced from May 2021 BLS stats (early career = 25th percentile, senior/late career = 90th percentile).

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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 – $47,310
  • Mid-level – $60,040
  • Senior – $83,080

Lincoln Police Department

  • Entry – $60,670
  • Senior – $80,140

Omaha Police Department

  • Entry – $60,040
  • Mid-level – $76,010
  • Senior – $80,140

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 – $46,840
  • Mid-level – $50,960
  • Senior – $66,020

Sarpy County Sheriff

  • Entry – $47,430
  • Mid-level – $50,960
  • Senior – $72,780

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.

Nebraska State Patrol

  • Entry – $48,290
  • Senior – $80,140

2021 US Bureau of Labor Statistics salary figures for police and sheriff’s patrol officers. Job growth projections from the US Department of Labor-sponsored resource, Projections Central. Figures are based on state data, not school-specific information. Conditions in your area may vary. Data accessed August 2022.