Procedure for Hiring a Deputy Sheriff

The Madison County Sheriff’s Department fills deputy sheriff positions in accordance with Nebraska state statutes which govern these procedures. As a county with a population of approximately 35,000 people, it is bound by statute 23-1722 and others regarding hiring persons as deputy sheriffs.

The procedure for filling deputy sheriff positions follows the steps outlined below.

When one or more deputy sheriff positions have opened, the Sheriff’s Department posts in various media outlets that there are openings to be filled and makes applications available. Applications are taken for a finite period of time after which applicants are invited to take a written test.

After the written tests have been administered and scored, the results are made available to the applicants. A percentage of the top scoring applicants are then invited to participate in the physical fitness test to determine if the applicant meets the basic physical fitness requirements for law enforcement certification.

An explanation of the fitness test is located here

Applicants who pass the physical fitness test are then asked to participate in an oral examination with the Merit Commission. The Commission creates a ranked list of applicants who passed the oral examination.

The top applicants are then subjected to a rigorous background examination conducted by Sheriff’s Department criminal investigators. A list of applicants who pass the background examination phase is submitted to the Sheriff who then interviews the top applicants and makes the final selection.

The following are the applicable state statutes and the entire collection of statutes on the subject can be read at this link.

23-1722. Sheriff’s office merit commission; created; county having 25,000 inhabitants or more.
In any county having a population of twenty-five thousand inhabitants or more, there shall be a sheriff’s office merit commission.

23-1726. Classified service, defined.
For purposes of sections 23-1721 to 23-1736, classified service includes all deputy sheriffs including the jailer and matrons but does not include the civilian employees of the office. The deputy sheriff designated by the sheriff as chief deputy is specifically excluded from sections 23-1721 to 23-1736.

(2) The commission shall cause to be kept records of the service of each employee, in the classified service, known as service records. These records shall contain facts and statements on all matters relating to the character and quality of the work done and the attitude of the individual toward his or her work. All such service records and employee records shall be subject only to the inspection of the commission.

23-1727. Commission; powers; duties.
The powers and duties of the sheriff’s office merit commission shall be as follows:

(1) To adopt rules not inconsistent with sections 23-1721 to 23-1736 for the examination and selection of persons to fill the offices and positions in the classified service which are required to be filled by appointment and for the selection of such persons to be employed in the classified service of the office of the sheriff;

(2) To supervise the administration of the merit system rules, hold examinations from time to time after giving notice thereof, prepare and keep an eligibility list of persons passing such examinations, and certify the names of persons thereon to the sheriff;

(3) To investigate, by itself or otherwise, the enforcement of sections 23-1721 to 23-1736 and of its own rules and the action of appointees in the classified service. In the course of such investigation, the commission, or its authorized representative, shall have the power to administer oaths, and the commission shall have power, by subpoena, to secure both the attendance and testimony of witnesses and the production of books and papers relevant to such investigation;

(4) To provide, through the purchasing department of the county, all needed supplies for the use of the commission;

(5) To classify deputy sheriffs and subdivide them into groups according to rank and grade based upon the duties and responsibilities of such positions. The commission shall recommend to the county board salaries which are uniform for each group of the classified service and comparable to those of comparable counties in this section of the United States; and

(6) To perform such other duties as may be necessary to carry out sections 23-1721 to 23-1736.

23-1728. Commission; competitive examinations; records of service; keep; subject to inspection by commission.
(1) The commission shall prepare and hold open competitive examinations in order to test the relative fitness of all applicants for appointment to the classified service. At least two weeks’ notice shall be given of all such examinations by publication at least once in a legal newspaper published and of general circulation in the county or, if none is published in the county, in a legal newspaper of general circulation in the county.

23-1729. Sheriff; personnel director; duties.
The sheriff of each county under sections 23-1721 to 23-1736 shall be the personnel director of the merit system. The personnel director shall act as secretary of the sheriff’s office merit commission and shall advise the commission in all matters pertaining to the merit system established by sections 23-1721 to 23-1736.

23-1731. Classified service; vacancy; how filled.
Whenever a position in the classified service is to be filled, the sheriff shall notify the sheriff’s office merit commission of that fact, and the commission shall certify the names and addresses of the three candidates standing highest on the eligibility list for the class or grade for the position to be filled, and the sheriff shall forthwith appoint to such position one of the three persons so certified. Such appointment shall be for a probationary period to be fixed by the rules, but not to exceed one year. On or before the expiration of the probationary period, the sheriff may, by presenting specific reasons for such action in writing, discharge a probationary appointee, or, with the approval of the commission, transfer him or her to another department within the sheriff’s office. If not discharged prior to the expiration of the period of probation and if no complaint has been made about the service rendered, the appointment shall be deemed permanent. To prevent the stoppage of business or to meet extraordinary conditions or emergencies, the sheriff may, with the approval of the commission, make a temporary appointment to remain in force for not to exceed sixty days and only until regular appointment can be made under sections 23-1721 to 23-1736.

23-1735. Classified service; discrimination; prohibited.
No person in the classified service or seeking admission thereto shall be appointed, reduced, or removed, or in any way favored or discriminated against because of his political, racial, or religious opinions or affiliations, except for membership in any organization which has advocated or does advocate the overthrow of the government of the United States or this state by force or violence.