Reading K-9 Unit
Rocky, a pioneer in the reinstatement of the Reading K-9 Unit has sadly passed away at the age of 14. When the unit was reintroduced in 2008 they needed dogs to join. A little over 80 dogs were offered to the program, but not every dog is cut out to be a police dog. As a result, the 80 dogs were narrowed down to 6. Rocky was one of the 6 and was later partnered with Officer Joshua Faust and specialized in sniffing out explosive material.
During Rocky’s entire career as a police dog he worked with his handler Officer Faust. The two protected the community together for many years until Rocky retired. One of Officer Faust’s fondest memories of Rocky was on Rocky’s last day as a member of the K-9 unit before his retirement.
Rocky and Officer Faust were responding to a burglary in progress. When they arrived to search the building, Rocky indicated to the second floor window. When they opened the window they found the perpetrator on the roof. It was a great find for Rocky and a memorable way to end a successful career.
Willow Street Pictures Founder
Willow Street Pictures Founder Darren Modricker was first introduced to Rocky in 2008 when he followed the Reading K-9 officers around for a full year to document their day to day life protecting the City of Reading. During this time, Darren was able to capture the important work the newly reinstated K-9 Unit was doing for the community and offer a window into the lives of the people and dogs that keep our community safe.
One of the most touching images Darren created during this time was a heartfelt tribute to Officer Wertz. Officer Wertz was a member of the Reading Police Department that made the ultimate sacrifice in 2006 when he was killed in the line of duty. His tragic death paved the way to the Reading K-9 Unit being reinstated in 2008. As a result the image of Rocky by his grave pays tribute to two heroes lives and legacies.
Willow Street Pictures founder, Darren Modricker, used the images he collected throughout the year of photographing the K-9s to create a narrative of hope for the Reading K-9 police unit. He wanted people to see how this police unit could help change the community for the greater good.
Raising funds to support the unit was crucial to its success during its reintroduction. Darren contributed by creating video interviews of the unit and by creating imagery that helped them receive national attention on news channels like NBC. His portraits also were used in several fundraising campaigns.
Friends of the Reading Police K-9 Unit
The Friends of the Reading Police K-9 Unit are a non-profit organization that raises funds to support and maintain the Reading Police K-9 Unit. The financial support that the organization provides to the unit goes directly to the K-9’s for repairs to the kennels, trauma aid kits, and unexpected medical expenses. Donate today!