Retired Middletown Police officer William “Bill” Hollister, who served as a K9 handler for 31 years died Monday, according to the division of police. He was 80.
Hollister began his police career in 1968 and was assigned to the K9 unit the following year, partnering with Duke. He remained a K9 handler for the next 31 years, working with Duke, Thor, Logan, Spencer, Custody and Roc.
He retired in 2000 but remained the department’s head canine trainer until 2016. Hollister was also one of the original members of the United States Police Canine Association (USPCA) in 1971 and was a national judge and trainer who trained hundreds of police dogs in the tri-state area.
Hollister was born in Hamilton and served in the United States Marine Corps.
Officers and department employees remember Hollister for his dedication to training police dogs, his deceiving “gruff” exterior and creative thinking in solving issues on the job.
Former Middletown police chief Rodney Muterspaw, now a city council member, said when Hollister responded to a domestic call, he talked to the husband and wife, told them they were “divorced by law” and to stop fighting and to sleep in separate rooms for the night.
Then Hollister returned the next day, and if the couple had no more issues, he remarried them.
“He was one of those larger-than-life guys like Mike Davis,” Muterspaw said, referring to the former Middletown police officer who ran Safety Town for years. “You don’t recreate those guys.”
Muterspaw said he was a patrolman when Hollister was a K-9 officer. He said while Hollister had a “gruff” exterior he was “a sweet, sweet man.”
Vince Lovejoy, a former MPD K9 officer and current investigator for the Butler County Coroner’s Office said “Bill was a man of few words. I think he lived his life how he wanted to. I had the privilege to work with him, train dogs with him and experience his passion to help underprivileged children.”
Hollister was chief judge at many regional and national competitions and also served as the central vice president of the USPCA as well as the ethics committee chairman. His wife Marsha, of almost 46 years, was also heavily involved in the Police K9 world. His contribution to the Police K9 community is immeasurable, according to the department.
“He will be greatly missed,” the department said through a social media post.
Hollister is survived by his wife, Marsha, five daughters and six grandchildren.
Visitation will be 4 to 7 p.m. today, May 25 at Berachah Church, 1900 Johns Road, Middletown. Funeral service will be at 10 a.m. Friday at the church. Military honors will be presented at the church following the service.
Memorial contributions may be made to the USPCA (United States Police Canine Association) Region 5.
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