Lancaster County, NE

Tactics Used

Reverse stings
Auto seizure
Community service
Public education
Neighborhood action
SOAP orders
John school
Web stings
License suspension

Lancaster County is located in Eastern Nebraska, near Omaha. Its population is roughly 306,000, most residing within the city of Lincoln, the state capital and government seat of the county.   Prostitution has been a persistent and visible problem in the area, and the sex trafficking of minors is well documented. Robberies of johns have also been documented. In recent years, community members have complained to local law enforcement about an increase in public solicitation for commercial sex.

To address these issues, the Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office and the Lincoln Police Department often collaborate, and have incorporated the use of street-level and web-based reverse stings to identify and apprehend sex buyers. “Traditional” reversals (i.e., those using a female undercover officer as a decoy on city streets) have been conducted since at least 2004, if not earlier.  The names of those arrested in stings are routinely publicized in press. For example, in 2015, law enforcement conducted two larger-scale reverse stings in September and December in Lincoln, netting 23 johns in the process. The logistical details of both operations– specifically, whether they were conducted at street level or using web-based advertisements– were not disclosed, although the identities of arrestees were publicized in press.

In 2018, the Lancaster County Sheriff’s department made four arrests during a reverse sting. Eight deputies, three posing as the prostituted women, conducted the operation from 2PM to midnight on one night at an undisclosed West Lincoln business. Each sex buyer was charged with solicitation of prostitution, and their identities were disclosed in news releases. Additional details about the sting were being withheld to protect the Sheriff Department’s ongoing investigations.

In February, 2021 a man was arrested following a child enticement investigation, and held in the Lancaster County Jail on the following charges: sex trafficking of a minor, sexual assault of a child, violation of the sex offender registry act, solicit prostitution and child abuse.  The investigation began after investigators received information that the suspect was contacting young females on various online chat rooms “with the express purpose of providing marijuana for sex.”  Three victims were identified; 14, 15 and 16 years old.  The man was a registered sex offender based upon a conviction of sexual assault of a minor in Dodge County in 2005.

Key Partners

  • Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office
  • Lincoln Police Department

Key Sources

State Nebraska
Type County
Population 306468
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