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The First Sheriff

The first Sheriff, after Jefferson County was officially organized in 1871, was S. J. Alexander.  Since that time, 24 men have held the office of Jefferson County Sheriff.  Former sheriff, Rex E. Southwick, served the longest of any, having been appointed on August 1, 1978, after Sheriff Clyde Kellie resigned for personal reasons and served until January 9, 2003. 


A hard fought campaign between Chief Deputy Nels Sorensen and Sheriff Rex Southwick ended in victory for Sorensen in November 2002.  Current sheriff, Nels L. Sorensen began his duties on January 9, 2003 and is serving as the 24th Sheriff of Jefferson County.

Jefferson County has had the honor of having two sheriffs serve as president of the Nebraska Sheriff's Association, those being Sheriff Frank Knocke in 1965, and Sheriff Southwick in 1992.


Records from 1871 through 1971, show that the Sheriff served with one or two deputies under him. In 1971, with the election of Clyde Kellie, Jefferson County tried several new programs to consolidate governmental services, including running the sheriff's office along with the ambulance service. The Sheriff also contracted with several of the 11 smaller communities in the county for law enforcement services to their communities, but this proved ineffective. Sheriff Kellie started with a force of two, and expanded to approximately eight, finally cutting back to four.  The Jefferson County Sheriff's Office currently consists of the sheriff, five deputies and an officer manager.


606 3rd Street - Fairbury, NE 68352
Office: 402-729-2284 or 800-775-2126
Fax: 402-729-2904