Sergeant Christopher Gause has served with the DeSoto County Sheriff’s Office for a total of 31 years, starting his career in 1989. He currently supervises the Court Services program.
Sgt. Gause began his career as a Corrections Officer with the DeSoto County Sheriff’s Office serving a total of 6 years in the jail. He competed the Law Enforcement cross over class in 1991 and he was transferred to the Road Patrol division in 1995. He served as a Patrol Deputy until his promotion to Patrol Sergeant in May of 1999. During his tenure with the Patrol division, his collateral duties included membership in the following units; Mounted Unit, Dive team, SWAT team and Marine Patrol Unit. Sergeant Gause served with the Patrol division until his transfer to Court Services in October of 2012.
During his career Sgt. Gause has accumulated over 2500 hours of training in various Law Enforcement subjects.
Sergeant Merle “Buddy” Lewis has served with the DeSoto County Sheriff’s Office 14 years, starting his career in August of 2005. He was promoted to the rank of Sergeant of Road Patrol in November of 2016. His current assignment is as the shift supervisor for Bravo squad.
Sgt. Lewis has worked in different specialized positions during his Law Enforcement career. This includes Road Patrol as Deputy, Corporal and Sergeant, SWAT team and Sniper, Agricultural Detective, Narcotics Detective and Narcotics Sergeant. This has given him a broad variety of training and experience. Some of his training includes First-line Supervisor, Middle Management, Florida Sheriff’s Association First-line Supervisor, DEA Clandestine Methamphetamines Lab and FBI-LEEDA Supervisor Leadership Institute.
Sgt. Lewis is a Florida native and attended school in DeSoto County. He has lived and raised his family in this community for over 30 years. He started his Law Enforcement training in 1995, when he enrolled in the Basic Law Enforcement Academy at South Florida Community College in Avon Park, Florida. He served 8 years with the Arcadia Police Department as a Patrol Officer and as Investigator. He has served this community as a Law Enforcement Officer for 23 years.
Sergeant Kyle Paeplow began his career at the DeSoto County Sheriff’s Office as a Road Patrol Deputy in 2014. In April of 2018, he was promoted to a Road Patrol Corporal. In 2019, he was promoted to Road Patrol Sergeant, the position in which he currently serves the agency.
While employed with the DeSoto County Sheriff’s Office, Sergeant Paeplow has attended Speed Measurement (Radar and LIDAR certified), VALOR Survive and Thrive training, FBI LEEDA Supervisor Leadership Institute (SLI), and Crisis Intervention Training.
Sergeant Paeplow graduated from Lake Placid High School in 2006. Afterward, he obtained his Associate of Science Degree in General Studies at South Florida Community College. He then attended Florida Gulf Coast University taking classes in legal studies and criminal justice. He graduated from FGCU in 2012, with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Criminal Justice. Sergeant Paeplow then attended the Southwest Florida Public Service Academy where he completed his basic Law Enforcement Training. Sergeant Paeplow continues his educational pursuit at the DeSoto County Sheriff’s Office by attending specialized law enforcement training and leadership courses.
Sergeant Joseph Santos has six (6) years of experience with the DeSoto County Sheriff’s Office, starting his career here in 2014. In 2016 Sgt. Santos was assigned to the Criminal Investigations Unit (CID) specializing as an Agricultural Detective. In 2019 Sgt. Santos was promoted to the rank of Corporal in Uniformed Patrol, in 2020 he was promoted to his current position of Sergeant in Uniformed Patrol.
As a Deputy Sheriff with the DeSoto County Sheriff’s Office, he has completed several specialized training courses to include: Radar/Laser certification, Crisis Intervention, Advanced Report Writing, Interviews and Interrogations, Field Training Officer (FTO), Livestock Education and Certification for Agriculture Law Enforcement (LECALE), Airboat Operations Certification and Gangs and Security Threat Groups.
Sgt. Santos is also a veteran and started his military career with the United States Army in 1998. He continued his military career in the Florida Army National Guard in 2004 assigned to the Arcadia Field Artillery unit for seven (7) years. Sgt. Santos also has seven (7) years of Law Enforcement experience from Arcadia Police Department at the ranks of Patrolman, Detective and Road Patrol Sergeant.
Sgt. Santos is a lifelong resident of DeSoto County and graduated from DeSoto County High school in 1998. He is a former little league baseball/football coach for several years, is currently a member of the Brotherhood Ride “Cycling for Fallen Heroes” and a member of Arcadia Elks Lodge 1524.
Sergeant James “Jimmy” Stutler has served with the DeSoto county Sheriff’s Office for a total of 16 years, starting his career in 2001. He was last promoted to the rank of Sergeant in January of 2021. His current assignment is as the shift supervisor for Delta squad.
Sergeant Stutler has worked in several different specialized positions during his law enforcement career. These include patrol officer, deputy, corporal and sergeant, SWAT team member and sniper. Sergeant Stutler has also been assigned as a Narcotics Detective and a Task Force Member assigned to the Drug Enforcement Agency. Some of his advanced training includes Building and Maintaining a Sound Organization, Traffic Homicide, SWAT and Sniper School and Clandestine Methamphetamine Lab and Firearms Instructor as well as Glock and AR-15 Armorer schools.
Sergeant Stutler is a graduate of the St. Francis DeSales High School in Columbus Ohio where he was born and raised. Sergeant Stutler started his law enforcement career in 1996 when he attended the Basic law Enforcement Academy at South Florida Community College in Avon Park. He served 6 years at the Arcadia Police Department as a Patrol Officer, Narcotics Detective and a Sergeant. Sergeant Stutler also served the citizens of the City of Starke and Bradford County for three years before returning to DeSoto County where he is raising his family. Sergeant Stutler is also a veteran of the United States Marine Corps.