Platte County Sheriff's Office




The first district court in the county was held in 1859 with Augustus Hall presiding as Chief Justice. The courthouse had not yet been built, so the town hall in Columbus, known as Saints Chapel was used. After Judge Hall died, William Kellog came into power. During Kellog’s first term, the prosecuting attorney was Robert Moreland, who by no means was an ornament to the office. Moreland had previously been bound over for breaking the peace and the only indictment returned that term was against the prosecuting attorney for assault and battery.


In the winter to 1867, a man named Bob Wilson worked for a settler named Grant. For whatever reason, Wilson shot and killed Grant, then later turned himself into then Sheriff John Browner. Before and during Wilson’s trial, George Grant, brother of the slain man, prepared a death warrant, which he urged citizens to sign. As Wilson began to boast he was going to be set free or buy his way out of jail, the community feeling began to run very high. Wilson was remanded to the district court on charges of murder. Immediately on the court’s announcement, a group of men made a rush for the prisoner as he was led from the courthouse. The mob overpowered the sheriff’s officers; threw a rope around Wilson’s neck and dragged him to a cottonwood tree, where he was hung. After Wilson died, his body was tied behind an ox wagon and dragged to the river bank, where a hole was chopped in the ice and Wilson’s body thrown in.


In 1875, an effort was made to move Nebraska’s state capitol to Columbus because of it’s central location in the state and the fact that Columbus was on the Union Pacific Railroad’s main line. Efforts were later dropped; the capitol was moved from Omaha to Lincoln.


The first marriage license issued in Platte County was issued in 1858 by A.B. Pattison. The first sheriff of Platte County was Jacob Guter, who served from 1857 to 1859. The first sheriff to serve after Nebraska became a state, was John Browner.


Old CourthousePlatte County's first courthouse was erected in Columbus in 1870 on Columbia Square. Construction costs were $18,000. The present courthouse, relocated to 2610 14th St., was built in 1920 with jail facilities on the third floor, and was added onto and completed in 1976. The new addition housed the current jail facility, a community room, offices of the sheriff, county treasure, county court, district court, probation offices, emergency management, and the Nebraska State Patrol.




The Platte County Detention Facility located at 1125 E. 17th Street was completed in June of 2003 at a cost of $7,176,034.00. The facility has an inmate capacity of 144 adult inmates. The Platte County Detention Facility replaces the old Platte County Jail which is located in the Courthouse. The previous jail had a inmate capacity of 27 adult inmates. The old jail is still used  on a daily basis for persons sentenced from court until they can be picked up and those transported to the Courthouse from the Detention Facility for court appearances.

Platte County Sheriffs:

1. Jacob Guter 1857 - 1859
2. E.W. Toncray 1859 - 1860
3. J. Rickly 1860 - 1861
4. James E. North 1862 - 1863
5. J.B. Beebe 1863 - 1865
6. John Browner 1865 - 1867
7. C.D Clother 1868 - 1869
8. A.J. Arnold 1869 - 1871
9. George Lehman 1872 - 1873
10. Benjamine Spielman 1873 - 1880
11. Daniel C. Kavananangh 1881 - 1886
12. Martin C. Bloeclorn 1887 - 1888
13. J.C Caldwell 1889 - 1890
14. D.C Kavanaugh 1891 - 1896
15. John C. Byrnes 1897 - 1902
16. Charles J. Carri 1902 - 1908
17. Henry Lachnit 1909 - 1917
18. Mark Burke 1917 - 1918
19. D.C Kavanaugh 1918 - 1927
20. Ed C. Kavanaugh 1927 - 1938
21. Herbert Person 1939 - 1953
22. Herman Christensen 1954 - 1965
23. John Evans 1965 - 1970
24. John Cook 1970 - 1971
25. Donald Franzen 1971 - 1979
26. Jack Florendo 1979 - 1982
27. Richard Mason 1982 - 1983
28. Neal Drum Jr. 1983 - 1993
29. Jon Zavadil 1993 - 2014
30. Edward Wemhoff 2014 - Present





Platte County Sheriff's Office
2610 14th Street
Columbus, NE 68601