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Kentucky court swears in first paid deputy with Down syndrome

Jeff Rhinerson sworn in as deptuy

WHAS11 via Youtube

Cerith Gardiner - published on 01/02/24

At 45 years old, Officer Rhinerson determinedly placed his hand on the Bible as he was sworn in for duty.

A 45-year-old man with Down syndrome has seen his dreams come true when he was recently sworn in as a paid deputy for the sheriff’s office in Kentucky.

Jeff Rhinerson will join the security team at the Daviess County Sheriff’s Office, where he will be responsible for upholding security and integrity at the judicial center, along with his colleagues.

Sheriff Brad Youngman spoke with Owensboro Times and shared his excitement for the new recruit:

I am very excited to have Jeff join our court security team. Jeff has a passion for helping people and has always been interested in law enforcement. This is a great opportunity for both of us.”

The sheriff also explained a little more about the new deputy’s role that had been carefully considered to take into account Officer Rhinerson’s strengths and interests.

Due to the fact that Officer Rhinerson is very much a people person, he will primarily be involved in customer services, directing visitors to the correct location, and passing on information about the court system.

The position will put the law enforcer right in the public eye, where he can offer advice in situations where people can often be a little stressed. And as Kitty Jones, the director of the non-profit Employment Opportunities, pointed out: “This is a big step toward inclusion in our community.”

The swearing in ceremony, carried out by Judge-Executive Charlie Castlen, is definitely worth the watch. The visible pride on Officer Rhinerson’s face reflects how far people with Down syndrome are breaking down barriers and showing the world just how capable they are!

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