Nebraska, known for corn, crops and legendary investor Warren Buffet is located in what is known as the Midwest. Hard working blue collar American’s abound here and police officers are no different.
The state of Nebraska offers its community highly trained and skilled police officers to serve communities throughout the state. It has lower crime rates than most of the other states, and some of the lowest unemployment in the area. However, there is still a need for police officers and law enforcement professionals.
Before becoming a Nebraska police officer, applicants are required to attend a state certified police academy in the city or county they are interested in serving. Before attending a police academy in Nebraska, candidates must meet some basic requirements.
First all applicants must be at least 21 years of age or older.
Second, they must be a U.S. citizen with a valid Nebraska driver’s
license. Third, they must be able to pass a background check with little to no convictions and small offences.
This may include, but not limited to, drug screening and polygraph tests. Prior drug use, DUI’s, crimes against children or women, for example, domestic violence will automatically disqualify most applicants. Lastly, they must be able to pass a physical screening test as well which covers many aspects. We cover these later in this article.
Applicants interested in becoming law enforcement professionals have to complete an application for the police academy and register to take a written exam.
The written exams will evaluate an applicant’s mental toughness and aptitude to perform the job of a police officer. Some of these tests include psychological evaluations and basic adult education test.
Physical Fitness Test
The physical test in Nebraska are well defined and very specific as to what applicants should be able to do across the board given their age, weight, height, and gender. For example, applicants should be able to perform a given number of pushups, sit-ups or run a certain distance within a certain frame.
The physical task occurs consecutively with 1 or 2 minutes of rest. These tests are great for evaluating the physical and mental stamina and performance of law enforcement candidates, especially in stressful situations.
These tests can vary among Nebraska’s various jurisdictions however, the tests mentioned are some of the general tests required to evaluate the physical abilities of interest applicants.
Nebraska law enforcement professionals are also required to pass certain medical examinations and tests prior to enrolling into a police academy and receiving a law enforcement certification.
While most Nebraska law enforcement agencies and police academies would like to have perfectly fit police officers, they have to tread a careful line between discriminating against those with disabilities.
As a result, Nebraska has enacted legislation that allows the governing bodies, police academies, and physicians to judge applicants on a case by case basis to determine eligibility through the various jurisdictions in the state of Nebraska.
In conclusion, Nebraska is a great and vibrant state with many opportunities for law enforcement professionals. Great quality of life and low crime rate makes law enforcement in this state a great place to live and work.
Nature of Work
General police work requires active involvement with the community to identify potential problems and to find solutions to improve the quality of life in our community. Police work also involves the enforcement of all applicable ordinances, statutes and laws in the City of Omaha (i.e., City, State, and Federal).
This may involve crime prevention, investigation and detection, protection of life and property, traffic control, and maintaining law and order in the community. Police Officers deal with all age groups from juveniles to adults, and with all levels of the criminal element.
The work involves an ever-present possibility of personal danger. Police Officers receive direction from supervisors and carry out those assignments in accordance with established operating procedures, but at all times, an Officer must be able to act without direct supervision.
Age: As mandated by Nebraska State Statute 81-1410, an applicant must be at least 21 years of age prior to the completion of training. The requirement for the City of Omaha is that candidates must be 21 years of age by the start of the first training class. Proof of age must be furnished at the time of application.
Driver’s License: An applicant must possess a valid current driver’s license. The applicant must not have been convicted of driving while intoxicated in the two (2) years immediately preceding admission to the training academy.
Education: As mandated by Nebraska State Statute 81-1410, a qualified applicant must have graduated from high school, or must possess certification of an educational development of at least a high school graduation level (G.E.D.). An applicant must also be able to read and comprehend English at the 11th grade level.
Health: An applicant must be able to perform the physical requirements of the position. Mental and physical fitness will be determined by examination.
Vision: An applicant must have uncorrected vision of not less than 20/200 in both eyes without squinting; correctable to 20/20 in both eyes without squinting. There must also be no evidence of irreversible disease, which will affect the person’s sight. Must have normal color vision. Must also possess the ability to see peripherally with both eyes.
Citizenship: By mandate of Nebraska State Statute 81-1410, an applicant must be a citizen of the United States.
Conviction Record: By mandate of Nebraska State Statute 81-1410, the applicant must be free of any conviction by any state of the United States for a crime punishable by imprisonment in a penitentiary for a term of one (1) year, or more, or by any foreign government for a crime which would be punishable by imprisonment for a term of one (1) year, or more, if committed in Nebraska; or has been pardoned for such offense; or has had a conviction for such offense overturned or reversed by a court of competent jurisdiction.
As specified in the Omnibus Consolidate Appropriations Act of 1997 (formerly known as the Gun Control Act of 1968), it is unlawful for any person convicted of a “misdemeanor crime of domestic violence” to ship, transport, possess, or receive firearms or ammunition.
Police Officer Examination Process
In order to be appointed as a Police Officer, a candidate must successfully pass the following steps (not necessarily in the order listed) in the examination process:
Written Examination: All eligible candidates will be given a paper and pencil test designed to measure the candidate’s ability to successfully fulfill the duties of a Police Officer. Candidates scoring below the minimum pass/fail point will NOT be eligible to continue with the selection process for the position of Police Officer.
The written test score will be factored into the final score. Depending on the number of vacancies, candidates may be invited to participate in the following procedures:
Physical Agility Examination: The nature of Police work calls for strenuous physical activity. This test measures physical strength, endurance, agility and is graded on a pass/fail basis and will not be factored into the final score.
Structured Interview: Candidates are interviewed on videotape by an interviewer. A panel of assessors then evaluates this interview. This interview is designed to measure the specific oral skills required for a Police Officer. The structured interview score will be factored into the final score.
Writing Skills Test: Candidates will be required to complete a writing skills test, which is designed to measure a candidate’s skill in spelling, punctuation, grammar, sentence structure and content. This test will be graded and factored into the final score.
Final Score/Ranking. Upon successful completion of the written examination, the physical agility, the structured interview and the writing skills tests, candidates will be placed on an eligibility list. Ranking on this eligibility list will be based on a combined statistical weighting of the above-mentioned scores.
Background Investigation. An in-depth background investigation will be completed on each candidate who progresses to the final phase of the selection process. Each candidate will be required to complete a detailed background questionnaire. Falsifying information or deliberate omissions may cause the candidate to be disqualified. This investigation will include gathering information on financial, military, educational, employment, traffic, and criminal histories.
Listed below are some of the items, which may disqualify a candidate. This list may be used to determine the suitability of a personal background. Please note that this list is provided for purpose of example, and is not all-inclusive.
- History of financial problems, i.e., continuous garnishment of wages, non-payment of bills, recent filing of bankruptcy, chronic history of debt, problems with collection agencies. Civil lawsuits where the candidate was named as a defendant will be investigated.
- Felony convictions. Candidates with a felony conviction will be automatically disqualified (as outlined in Nebraska State Statute 81-1410).
- Criminal and traffic records will be checked. This includes items such as driving while under the influence (DWI) or driving during suspension of license.
- Poor employment history, i.e., fired from several jobs, excessive absences/tardiness, and long-term unemployment. Unexplained gaps in employment record. History of unexplained accidents.
- Lack of high school diploma or G.E.D.
- History of drug and/or alcohol abuse. A drug screen test will be administered to all candidates by Police Department personnel.
- A dishonorable discharge from the military will automatically disqualify the candidate.
- A conviction for a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence. As mandated by the federal government, individuals who have been convicted of any crime of domestic violence are automatically disqualified.
- Polygraph Examination: Candidates will be required to submit to a polygraph examination.
Personal Interview with the Police Chief. The Police Chief (or his designee) will conduct a personal interview with the candidates who are referred to the final phase of the selection process.
6. After a conditional offer of employment is made, the candidate will be required to take the following examinations:
Psychological Evaluation. A clinical psychologist will test and interview candidates.
Medical Examination. A medical provider administers a comprehensive medical history, physical examination, and lab analysis.
The background investigation, polygraph examination, and the personal interview with the Police Chief may be conducted at different stages of the selection process and not necessarily in the order listed above. The psychological evaluation and the medical examination will be conducted after the conditional offer of employment.
Individuals must pass the medical and psychological examinations to receive the final offer of employment.