End of Watch: The death of Charles Pugh

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Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s Department

End of Watch Tuesday, August 18, 2020

From the book, “Some Gave All,” coming soon on this website and Amazon.com.

By Mike Simmons

“Why don’t you consider a career in Corrections?” Ben Geller asked him. It sounded intriguing to Charles. It was steady work, it paid okay, it had a great retirement and lots of time off. But the biggest advantage was the insurance. It supplied good insurance for Charles’ family. Besides, it was a job that helped people, which is what Charles wanted to spend his life doing.

The Florida Department of Corrections! What an esteemed career! The motto is Care, Custody, and Control. It was also dangerous, but he felt that he was doing good. Then, in 2015, Charles became a detention deputy at the Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s Office. He felt he was appreciated. He, his wife, and his kids were part of the family. Yes, this was it! The job fit like a glove.

Deputy Charles Pugh

Besides working at the jail, he joined the Emergency Response Team, the Honor Guard and he worked with the U. S. Marshal’s Task Force. His calm demeanor and diligence earned the respect of his co-workers, inmates, and the public. Unlike most people, though, Charles volunteered on his days off to work with patients at the Life Care Center.

When the Covid pandemic hit, most of the world shut down in hopes of slowing the spread of the disease. Some defendants were placed on probation instead of being sent to jail, but there were still hundreds of inmates in the Santa Rosa County Jail. They couldn’t go home. Most were kept out of harm’s way due to excellent screening of incoming arrestees. On March 21, 2020, Charles posted this picture on his Facebook page:  

A post from Charles Facebook Page   But…who does the screening, and who does the care, custody, and control of the inmates during the pandemic? Corrections Officers. Sacrificing their lives for a deadly virus is just as dangerous – and often more so – than sacrificing for a deadly gun or blade. That’s what happened to Charles. He was exposed to a confirmed case and caught the deadly disease[1]. He was sent home and to bed.

But he didn’t get better. In fact, he got worse. Finally, he had to be hospitalized. Now he would get the best treatment, and he did. But it didn’t help. He got worse and worse. Then, on August 20, 2020, Charles Pugh died. The faithful husband, great father, and loyal friend was gone. Besides his family, his many friends, and his law enforcement family, he was survived by his wife Tamesha, and his two children, Makayla and Charles III.

Rest easy, Brother.


[1] Officer Down Memorial Page, https://www.odmp.org/officer/24821-detention-deputy-charles-otis-pugh-ii

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