GauseSergeant 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.


Lewis 2Sergeant 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.


Proudfit, MSergeant Matthew Proudfit has served the DeSoto County Sheriff’s Office for seven (7) years, starting his career at the DeSoto County Sheriff’s Office in November of 2012.

Sgt. Proudfit served in the Uniformed Patrol Bureau starting as a Deputy.  In February of 2015, he was transferred to the Narcotics Unit while assigned to the Criminal Investigation Division. In 2018, he was promoted to the rank of Corporal and assigned to the Uniformed Patrol Bureau. In 2019, he was promoted to the rank of Sergeant in the Uniformed Patrol Bureau. Sgt. Proudfit is a member of the S.W.A.T. team and a member of the Clandestine Lab safety team.

Sgt. Proudfit’s training includes Certifications for General Instructor techniques, Firearms, Baton and Less Lethal Munitions. Sgt. Proudfit is also a Certified Field Training Officer. He has attended several advanced Supervisory courses, which include Line Supervision and FBI LEEDA Supervisor Leadership Institution, both as a leader and for the S.W.A.T. team. He is an Instructor for the Teen Driver Challenge.

As of January 2020, Sgt. Proudfit has over 1600 hours of credited training. Sgt. Proudfit grew up in Charlotte County. He graduated from Charlotte High School in 2006 and Edison State College in 2010, where he then attended Southwest Florida Public Service Academy and received his State Law Enforcement Certification.

SantosSergeant 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.