The Handlers

The K-9s

Officer Joshua Faust


In service since: 2003

College: Kutztown University with a Major in Criminal JusBce Graduated in December 2000

Rank: K-9 Handler/trainer for the unit. I have been the trainer since 2013 after completing a trainer course at Shallow Creek Kennels.

Why did you want to be a K-9 Handler: My dad’s cousin was a handler for a department near my hometown and I was always fascinated by how the dogs work.

Favorite part of your Job: Seeing not only Trooper succeed but the entire unit succeed on the street.

What do you do for fun: Running and exercise, as well as time with my family.

Fact: In 2008 I was appointed to the position of K9 with my first partner Rocky. Rocky retired in 2013 and still lives at home with me. In 2013 I was sent to Shallow Creek Kennels to become the K9 Unit’s trainer and I was also paired up with my current partner Trooper.

K-9 Trooper

In service since: December 2013

Date of Birth: January 21, 2012

Origin: Netherlands

Breed: German Shepherd

Specialty: Explosives Detection and Patrol

What does he do in his off time: Trooper likes to hang out/ play with his retired K9 buddy Rocky and he loves his family time.

Officer Mark Hackney


In service since: January 2005

Rank: K-9 Officer

College: Classes at Penn State

Military: United States Marines and the United States Army

Why did you want to be a K-9 Handler: I didn’t have animals growing up but dogs always captured my interest. I enjoyed the thought of having a partner who just listened and didn’t talk back. I was always interested in seeing how working dogs were trained to do the things they do.

Favorite part of your job: Helping young people in the city realize there is so much more out there. I have a strong belief that sometimes these kids need to hear success stories of professions other than athletes. Stories that they can create themselves to become successful.

What do you do for fun: I’m a homebody so I just enjoy being around my family.

K-9 Nero

In service since: July 2016

Date of Birth: February 23, 2015

Origin: Hungary

Breed: German Shepherd

Specialty: Narcotics Detection and Patrol

Background on K-9: Nero is used for narcotics, tracking, and patrol operations

Special talent: He jumps really high.

What does he do in his off time: Pretends he’s a regular dog! Loves to play fetch. And, don’t leave him by himself because he gets into everything

Officer Hector Santiago


In service since: January 2003

Rank: K-9 Officer

K-9 Hemi

In service since: February 2016

Date of Birth: March 20, 2014

Origin: Hungary

Breed: Belgian Malinois/German Shepherd

Specialty: Narcotics Detection and Patrol

Background on K-9: Hemi is a dual-purpose Narcotics dog. He loves to go to work and meet new people as well as find them when they are on the run. Hemi’s favorite part of the job is locating drugs and people hiding in buildings and wooded areas.

What does he do in his off time: He loves to play with his human brothers and furry brother Zeke. He also loves to get his belly rubbed.

Sergeant Alex Sholedice


In service since: July 2011

Rank: Sergeant

College: Associates in Criminal Justice

Why did you want to be a K-9 Handler: The desire to train and work a Police K-9 and be able to provide the citizens and other officers the advantages of having a highly trained K-9 in the department. I was intrigued by the intelligence of the K-9’s and found it amazing to see how quickly they learn and progress through their training.

Favorite part of your Job: Having Nico with me 24/7.

What do you do for fun: Shooting sports and exercise.

K-9 Nico

In service since: July 2016

Date of Birth: November 2, 2014

Origin: Hungary

Breed: Belgian Malinois/German Shepherd

Specialty: Narcotics Detection and Patrol

Background on K-9: K-9 Nico was imported from Hungary by Shallow Creek Kennels in 3/2016 and started with RPD later that month. He completed 3 months of patrol/narcotics training then went into field training on the streets of Reading 7/2016. He was certified by NAPWDA shortly after completing his field training and has been active on the street ever since.

Special talent: Bumblebee hunting

What does he do in his off time: Destroy things in my house, catch bumblebees and play with his Pit Bull sister Callie.

Officer Brian Adler


In service since: 2011

Rank: K-9 Officer

Why did you want to be a K-9 Handler: Prior to obtaining the K-9 handler position, I was assigned to patrol. K-9 was always a career goal of mine. Working alongside the current handlers over the course of my almost 9-year career drove me to actively pursue my dreams.

Favorite part of your Job: My favorite part of my job is the positive interactions I can have with the public, especially children and young adults.

What do you do for fun: In my free Bme I enjoy weight lifting and exploring new places, especially those of historical significance, with my family.

K-9 Ghost

Born: March 2018

Age: 2 years old

Origin: Hungary

What does he do in his off time: When Ghost is home, he enjoys playing with every dog toy in the house (our Lab was quite spoiled when she was an only dog) and playing fetch in the backyard.

Officer David Vega


In service since: 2014

Rank: K-9 Officer

College: Liberty University (BS Natural, Physical, & Computational Sciences)

Why did you want to be a K-9 Handler: I loved the prospect of training, working, and living daily with a dog and becoming a greater asset to my department and the surrounding agencies.

Favorite part of your Job: Learning the fundamentals inherent to the role of the K-9 Handler position.

What do you do for fun: I enjoy spending time with my wife and children. Trail walks & short field trips are popular favorites.

K-9 Rex

Date of Birth: August 8, 2018

Origin: Hungary (which is appropriate because Rex has an insatiable appetite)

Breed: German Shepherd

Special talent: So far Rex is in the very early stages of training. I think he is going to become an ideal partner and a perfect companion

What does he do in his off time: Though he has a very high work drive, Rex loves to cuddle when not actively training.

Past Reading Police Department Handlers and K-9s

Russ Claytor – K9 Cozmo

Dave Speece

Ralph Bearsler

Bob Dohner – K9 Sarge

Bob Ramsey – K9 Baron

Jim Bell – K9 King

Terry Sassaman – K9 Nick

Phil Santoro – K9 Thor and K9 Smokey

Joe Stajkowski – K9 Chicky

Stan McCarty – K9 Spike and K9 Max and K9 Bear

Terry Greth – K9 Spartan

Al Baumener – K9 Shane

Tom Kohl – K9 Smokey

Tony Miccki – K9 Shawn and K9 Major

Randy Habecker – K9 Cie and K9 Baron and K9 Wolf

Scott Naugle – K9 Hogan

Al Shade – K9 Baron

Kenny Seifert – K9 Rock

Jim Howe – K9 Bear and K9 Zor

Mark Hafner – K9 Ben and K9 Loki

Dave Gabrielli – K9 Blitz and K9 Fax

Gary Fetter – K9 Zorro

Brian Burr – K9 Rock

Guy Lehman – K9 Logan

Andy Winters – K9 Rex

Jason Linderman – K9 Tank

Joshua Faust – K9 Rocky

Hector Santiago – K9 Caine

Tina Fallstich – K9 Max

Eric Goudy – K9 Reno

John Hutchinson – K9 Cody