Pinellas Co. Deputy fired after inappropriate content on social media

Second incident this week
Posted at 5:25 PM, Jun 29, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-29 17:25:24-04

For the second time in a week the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office is in the spotlight for inappropriate actions by deputies.

Deputy Austen Callus, 23, was fired this week after investigators discovered an inappropriate Snapchat posting. The post showed a picture of the deputy with the caption, "Nothing like almost shooting someone to set your head right lol. God I gate people with knives."

Joseph Wood went to high school with Callus. He saw the snapshot and posted it to his personal Facebook page.

"I was shocked and I wanted to put the word out there," said Wood.

Wood's post was viewed more than three hundred times and eventually someone with the sheriff's office reported the incident.

Callus isn't the only deputy in trouble for inappropriate content. It was discovered this week that Corporal Shawn Pappas resigned his position in late February after an investigation reveled racist and sexist images on his cell phone. A spokesperson said Pappas would have been fired if he hadn't resigned.

"It sends a message that you can't be doing those kinds of things and if you truly have those thoughts then you shouldn't be a deputy sheriff," said Sheriff Bob Gualtieri.

Sheriff Gualtieri said the department does not have an official social media policy, but his employees should always be mindful of their conduct when posting.