In an inspiring move that underscores inclusivity and the breaking of barriers, the Daviess County Sheriff’s Office in Kentucky has made history by swearing in Jeff Rhinerson as a deputy, marking him as the first individual with Down Syndrome in the state to hold such a position with a salary.

Rhinerson’s appointment as a court security officer at the Morton Holbrook Judicial Center in Owensboro is not just a personal achievement but a monumental step forward in recognizing the capabilities and contributions of people with disabilities within the workforce and, more specifically, in roles of authority and responsibility.

Jeff Rhinerson’s journey to becoming a deputy was facilitated by Puzzle Pieces, a nonprofit organization dedicated to assisting individuals with disabilities. This organization played a crucial role in identifying and nurturing Rhinerson’s potential, ultimately leading to his groundbreaking employment opportunity. Before joining the sheriff’s office, Rhinerson had already demonstrated his commitment to serving the community through customer service roles at a local bank and Rural King, a farm supply store, where he was known for his friendly and welcoming demeanor.

Apart from his professional endeavors, Rhinerson has also made a name for himself as a host of a Facebook Live show, “Live with Jeffery Rhinerson,” where he interviews local leaders, including Brad Youngman, the Daviess County sheriff. This platform not only allowed Rhinerson to express his passion for community engagement but also facilitated a meaningful connection with Sheriff Youngman, laying the groundwork for his eventual recruitment into the sheriff’s department.

Sheriff Youngman’s decision to hire Rhinerson reflects a commendable commitment to inclusive employment practices. By recognizing Rhinerson’s potential and the mutual benefits of customized employment, the sheriff’s office has set a powerful example for other organizations and businesses. Rhinerson’s role as a court security officer, where he will work alongside certified colleagues, underscores the importance of providing opportunities for individuals with disabilities to contribute meaningfully to their communities while pursuing their career aspirations.