The Civil Process Section is responsible for the process of writs and documents for service according to state statute. The civilian processing staff has almost 65 years of experience with the Sheriff's Office. Their expertise in this area allows them to provide professional service to the citizens of Lancaster County. They are not, however, licensed to give legal advice, and it is requested that any questions asked of them be limited to the processing and service of civil documents.
The Lancaster County Sheriff's Office receives approximately 2000 civil and criminal writs per month. Of these, typically 70% are successfully served.
The Civil Division processes approximately twenty-four thousand court documents a year. Although its jurisdiction encompasses all of Lancaster County, the majority of these documents are served within the Lincoln city limits. Being the state’s capital, Lincoln has several large government agencies that receive a great number of papers. The Sheriff's Office is responsible for serving process to the Attorney General's Office, the Governor's Office, and all the correctional facilities in the county, including the Nebraska State Penitentiary.
These documents are received from government agencies, private law offices, and private citizens. They include various writs and orders from both civil and criminal courts here in Lancaster County and from all over the country. Civil deputies serve writs such as subpoenas (documents commanding an individual to appear in court to give testimony), summonses ( a notice that a court action has commenced and directing an individual to appear in court or take some other type of action), complex writs and protection orders (an order barring a respondent from various types of interaction with a petitioner) as well as steps within the legal eviction process.
Civil Process is a part of the Support Services Division. Upon receipt of process, pertinent information is recorded in a computerized processing system. The system records the employee number of the entry person, attorney information, case information, and specific service information, as well as the deputy assigned the paper.
The four process deputies serve the majority of the process received by the Civil Division. The geographical area for service is primarily within the city limits of Lincoln and is divided into four districts. These districts are delineated to more evenly distribute the number of services among the deputies and reduce their travel time/mileage between attempts. When the deputy serves the papers, or when the statutory return date is reached with no service having been made, a return is sent to the court for every paper received. Return information is also computerized and accessible online at the Civil Process Inquiry web page.
Civil deputies are commissioned deputies with the same law enforcement powers as patrol deputies. They utilize the same vehicles, uniforms, and equipment as deputies in other divisions. In addition to their process duties, deputies in the Civil Division monitor ongoing calls for service for the Sheriff's Office and assist as backup when practical.
Because their duties are primarily in the city of Lincoln, civil deputies also have the opportunity to assist the Lincoln Police Department and other law enforcement agencies on occasion. Our civil process support staff also has additional duties to those involved in the processing of civil papers. They are responsible for the Sheriff's Office's accounting services and the handling of the public Sheriff Sales and collecting back taxes per Distress Warrants issued by the Treasurer’s Office.