Over 70,000 adults were arrested for having committed crimes in Nebraska during 2011. The state saw an increase of 2% in 2011 in the number of crimes that were reported as compared to 2010. The greatest increase was in violent crimes with the number of murder and manslaughter cases increasing 20% and the number of forcible rapes increasing 6%.
As of November 2011, Nebraska had 4,449 inmates in its prison system, requiring oversight from correctional officers. Most of these inmates were incarcerated for sex crimes. Over 18% of the prison population in June 2011 was comprised of sex offenders. Assault and crimes involving drugs were the next two most common categories of offenses.
The Nebraska Department of Corrections had a budget of over $178 million in fiscal year 2010. They employed over 3,600 employees to manage these inmates in ten different facilities. Correctional officers represent the largest group of employees in this department. There were 1,940 such officers employed in Nebraska in 2012.
Requirements to Become a Correctional Officer in Nebraska
Those seeking correctional officer jobs in Nebraska must meet a number of requirements. They include passing an approximately two-hour DCS Correctional Officer examination. This three-part exam consists of sections on reading, report writing, and counting.
In addition to passing this exam, applicants must also clear background and pre-employment checks. Those who pass must then take a one-hour behavioral assessment exam.
Additional requirements to become a correctional officer in Nebraska include:
- Possessing a driver’s license that is valid in Nebraska
- Having a high school education or a GED
- Being at least 18 years old
- Not having any of the following convictions:
- Domestic violence
After receiving a conditional job offer, applicants must pass the Minimum Physical Standard (MPS) overview. This one-hour screen simulates the minimum physical effort needed to perform the tasks of a correctional officer. It assesses the following areas:
- Manual dexterity
- Pushing and pulling
- Bending, stooping, and reaching
- Standing and walking
- Carrying items and property
- Operating a motor vehicle
- Climbing stairs and a tower
- Using firearms
- Running and emergency responses.
Training to Become a Correctional Officer in Nebraska
New correctional officers in Nebraska are instructed for 164 hours at the Staff Training Academy in northeast Lincoln. It is located on the Whitehall Campus. Business attire is required. The Academy staff look for the following abilities in their students:
- Learning procedures
- Following directions
- Performing essential skills
- Maintaining a professional demeanor, even in times of high stress
361 new employees learned to become correctional offices in fiscal year 2011-2012 by studying a large number of topics. Some of these included:
- Report writing
- Securing crime scenes and evidence
- Safety and sanitation
- Suicide issues
- Using force
- First aid
- Emergency preparedness
- Awareness of sexual abuse/assault
- Substance abuse
- Performing searches
- Inmate con games
- Religious practices
- Victim awareness
- Overview of chemical agents
- Using firearms
- Defensive tactics
Once they are established in their jobs, correctional officers in Nebraska must be recertified every year. They take part in in-service training at the academy. This training varies, depending on current correctional trends and an annual needs survey.