H.D. “Gator” DeLoach
The Office of The Sheriff is held by an elected, constitutional officer. The Sheriff serves as the chief law enforcement officer, the chief bailiff of the court, and the chief corrections officer of the county. The Sheriff’s salary is set by the legislature and in Putnam County; a Sheriff is elected for a four-year term. Funding for the Sheriff’s Office is allocated by the Board of County Commissioners. Chapter 30, Florida Statutes, outlines the responsibility of the Sheriff, which includes that the Sheriff be a qualified voter and become a certified law enforcement officer within two years after taking office. Commissioned and appointed deputies are empowered by the Sheriff’s authority.
A fourth generation resident, Sheriff Gator DeLoach was born and raised in Putnam County and has dedicated his life to protecting and serving his community. Sheriff DeLoach began his career in law enforcement at the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office as a Patrol Deputy, and in 2002, he was awarded the Deputy of the Year Award. Sheriff DeLoach later transferred to the School Resource Unit assigned to Interlachen High School, where he developed and established the first criminal justice education curriculum in Putnam County, which is still in use today.
Sheriff DeLoach has served as both an Investigator with the Missing Persons Unit and a Detective/K9 Handler with the Drug Unit and was later promoted to the position of Sergeant with leadership responsibilities in the Drug Unit, Patrol Unit, and Detective Bureau. In 2011, Sheriff DeLoach was honored as the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office Supervisor of the Year.
Sheriff DeLoach was again promoted to the position of Lieutenant and was assigned to the Detective Bureau where he was responsible for supervision of property and major crimes investigations. Following his time in the Detective Bureau, Sheriff DeLoach served as the Captain of Administrative Services for the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office, overseeing the Communications Center, Civil and Records Bureau, Office of Professional Standards, Training, Accreditation, Public Information, School Crossing Guards, Public Service Assistants, Uniform and Supply, Fleet Maintenance, Community Services, and Information Technology.
Sheriff DeLoach is a Certified Narcotics K9 Handler, Certified Police Motorcycle Operator, Dive Team Commander, and Instructor of Firearms and Law Enforcement Vehicle Operations. He is a graduate of both the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Law Enforcement Executive Leadership Association’s Executive Leadership Institute and the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) Clandestine Laboratory Training.
The Sheriff lives in Interlachen, Florida with his wife, Jennifer, and their three children: Mason, Parker, and Knox. Gator is a member of the Florida Sheriff’s Association, Palatka Masonic Lodge #34, Palatka Rotary Club, Florida Cattleman’s Association, and the National Rifle Association, the Putnam County Chamber of Commerce and is the President of the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office Police Athletic League.
Colonel Joseph Wells
The Chief Deputy is the Sheriff’s principal leadership team member for directing, coordinating, supervising, and training the members of the Sheriff’s Office.
Colonel Joseph Wells was appointed Chief Deputy by Sheriff DeLoach on January 3, 2016. After beginning his career 1995, Colonel Wells has held many positions in the service of the citizens of Putnam County such as Patrol Deputy, Shift Commander and Watch Commander, to name a few. Having been promoted through the ranks from Deputy to Captain, Colonel Wells was serving as the Central District Commander and Special Operations Commander when he accepted his appointment as Chief Deputy.
Colonel Wells holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Criminal Justice and has obtained extensive executive level law enforcement training from the Florida Sheriff’s Association, Florida Department of Law Enforcement, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Colonel Wells is active in the Putnam County community as a volunteer for the Boy Scouts of America, a member of the Rotary Club of Palatka and Palatka Lodge #34 Free and Accepted Masons.