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During the 1800s migration westward, many of the people making the long trip from the eastern part of the country decided to stop in the young territory of Nebraska on the western banks of the Missouri River.

Douglas County began to grow and the people of the area wanted someone to protect them from outsiders and themselves. This need brought about the Sheriff of Douglas County and his Deputies.

The first and only Sheriff appointed was P.G. Peterson. The first Sheriff elected was Cameron Reeves on October 8, 1856. Reeves took office in January 1857. From that point forward, all Sheriffs were elected into office. There have been 30 Sheriffs for Douglas County; the first five prior to Nebraska's statehood. The current Sheriff, Timothy F. Dunning, is serving his fifth term in office.

Today, with a population of 463,585, Douglas County has the largest population of all 93 counties in Nebraska, and includes the state's largest city. Douglas County covers 331 square miles bordered by the Missouri River on the east, Platte River on the west, Dutch Hall Road on the north and Harrison Street on the south.

The County operates under a board of seven elected commissioners.

The department employs 213 personnel, 129 sworn officers and 84 civilian employees, making it the largest Sheriff's Office in the state. The personnel deliver the full range of law enforcements services, including:

  • patrol
  • criminal investigations
  • prisoner transportation
  • courthouse/civic center security
  • civil process
  • foreclosure proceedings
  • warrant service
  • mental health and protective order service
  • sex offender monitoring
  • tax collection.

The department became nationally accredited in 2005 by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA).

 

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