The Dawson County Sheriff’s Department (located in Lexington) employs 22 staff members, 15 sworn officers and a full-time drug enforcement officer. The Sheriff’s Department has 18 radio-equipped cruisers and other standard equipment. Regular patrol provides protection to rural and residential communities in the county.
Troop D of the Nebraska State Patrol maintains an office in North Platte. This office covers a 23-county area, including Dawson County, and has 55 sworn officers and 12 carrier enforcement officers. One patrolman is stationed in Gothenburg.
A mayor and four council members represent the City of Cozad. Numerous employees, boards and commissioners serve under the governing officials. A city clerk, city attorney, commissioners (overseeing light, street and water-sewer), a librarian and a police chief are on staff. The City of Cozad has seven full-time police officers and four full-time staff dispatchers who handle 911 calls and the Life-Line Emergency Response System. The city offers town meetings and seminars. Along with state-of-the-art equipment, Cozad also uses a bike patrol system. The Cozad Fire Department has 50 volunteer firemen along with trained and qualified paramedics to handle serious accidents.
Gothenburg has a mayor-council form of government with a city administrator. The mayor is elected at-large, and serves a four-year term. The city treasurer/clerk and city administrator are appointed annually. Fire protection is provided by a 44-member volunteer fire department, which also serves adjoining rural areas within the rural fire district and responds to mutual aid calls. Over half of the volunteer firemen serve as paramedics, and are trained and tested on a regular basis.
Lexington operates on a mayor-city council system. The public elects the council members to four-year terms; the council members in turn select the mayor for a two-year term and hire the city manager. The fire department equips 36 volunteer members at its new headquarters, while the police department maintains 14 full-time officers on its payroll. The Lexington Rural Fire Department handles emergencies on a contract basis to surrounding rural areas, and the Dawson County Sheriff’s Department handles crime reports after 5 p.m.