Meet our K-9 Handlers.

Deputy Ballance & K-9 Lykan

Barry Ballance started his law enforcement career in 1987 after completing the MJC Academy. In 1997 he started with the Stanislaus County Sheriff's Department. Shortly after, he joined the Sheriff's Department's Bomb Squad and continues to be a member of the team today.

In 1999 Deputy Ballance was assigned to the K-9 Unit and partnered with his first K-9, Pepa, a German Shepherd from the Czech Republic. After Pepa's retirement, Deputy Ballance was paired with K-9 Sergo who was a Belgian Malinois. During K-9 Sergo's career they competed in numerous K-9 trials throughout Northern California. They managed to finish overall in the top five for five consecutive years.

Deputy Ballance's third partner was also a Belgian Malinois named Cody. This K-9 was funded by a generous donation from the Moore family of Modesto. Named for the Moore's son, Cody, who died while serving in the United States Army. K-9 Cody was responsible for numerous arrests and became well known at local schools.

Deputy Ballance's current partner is a four-year old Belgian Malinois from Yugoslavia named Lykan. They have been partners for the past 2 years. K-9 Lykan is dual trained for patrol and narcotics. Patrol functions include searching for criminals who have run from deputies, tracking people and crowd control. He sniffs for narcotics in vehicles and buildings. Deputy Ballance and K-9 Lykan plan on retiring together in the next few years.

Deputy Victorino & K-9 Slik Rik

I started my career in law enforcement in 2012 by attending the 149th Alameda County Sheriff's Office academy as an affiliate of the Stanislaus County Sheriff's Department. I graduated the Academy in April of 2013. After successfully completing the academy I was assigned to the Patrol division FTO program.  

In January 2014 I was selected to become a canine agitator/decoy. Being a part of the K-9 Unit has always been a goal since starting my law enforcement career. I felt this experience would further my training with the dogs and current handlers to prepare myself for my goal of becoming a handler. In August 2015 I was selected as a canine handler. I tested several potential canines and found and amazing Dutch Shepherd which became my first partner and named him Kuma. Kuma is now retired and is loved by the members of our association, members of the Sheriff's Department, and the community.

My current K9 is Slik Rik.

Deputy Garcia & K-9 Renzo

I started my career in law enforcement in 2012 with the Mendota Police Department. After approximately three years with the Police Department, I laterally transferred to the Stanislaus County Sheriff's Department.

Starting with the Sheriff's Department, I was fortunate to have a K-9 Handler as one of my Field Training Officers. After working side by side with the K-9 Handler and his canine partner, I knew this was the speciality unit I wanted to join.

In March of 2016, I joined the K-9 Unit as a agitator/decoy. I worked very closely with the K-9 handlers and their canines until February 2019 when I was selected as a K-9 Handler. A short time later I met my new partner, K-9 Renzo. 

K-9 Renzo is a Dutch Shepherd born in Holland in 2017. He is a very social and hard working dog and I am happy he is my partner.

Deputy De Los Santos & K-9 Moose

I have always had an interest in law enforcement. Following high school I volunteered as a Spanish translator for a local city Police Department and with the Probation Department helping within their juvenile intervention program.

In 2000 I enrolled in the Ray Simon Police Academy to become a Reserve Police Officer. Later in 2001, I was hired by the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department as a Deputy Sheriff-Custodial. Following my assignment in the custodial facilities, I later worked as a Bailiff for nearly five years. I have continued my journey becoming an instructor for various subjects in our Correctional Academy and working as a Field Training Officer mentoring numerous new deputies. To this day I enjoy taking advantage of the variety of opportunities the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department offers to our deputies in order to be an asset to our Department.

In 2018 I was chosen to become one of the newest K-9 Custodial Deputies. K-9 Moose was selected from a pool of T.S.A. canines to be my partner. Moose has been imprinted to detect various narcotics and electronics. Moose was a natural at detection and passed his certification easily.  He loves coming to work every day and is highly motivated even after a long day. 

Deputy Masellis & K-9 Oliver

I began my career with the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Office in 2006 as an Adult Detention Deputy Sheriff. I have worked in each of the jail facilities including the now retired Men’s Honor Farm and the downtown Men’s Jail. Some of my assignments have included Court, Classification, Corrections Investigative Unit (CIU), and Custodial K-9.

    In July 2021 I was selected to be a K-9 Handler for the Custody Investigation Unit and given the opportunity to work with K-9 Oliver. Oliver is a 2-year-old Labrador Retriever. He has completed narcotics and electronic device detection training. Oliver enjoys coming to work every day and most days can’t get in the car fast enough. Oliver’s friendliness, enthusiasm and energy make him a great partner.

Together Oliver and I intercept contraband, such as, drugs and weapons and prevent illegal substances from entering the facilities.

Deputy Silva & K-9 Hondo

I was hired by Sheriff's Department in 2012 as an Adult Detention Deputy. In my four years of working in Adult Detention I was able to work at all of the Detention Facilities and as a Transportation Deputy. 

In 2016 I attended the POST Academy and transferred to Patrol. Since 2016 I've worked Patrol, Detectives, Mobile Field Force, and as a K-9 Agitator. In September of 2019 I was selected as a K-9 Handler. I had the absolute honor to be paired with K-9 Hino who is named after fallen Deputy Tony Hinostroza.  After three years of dedicated service, K-9 Hino was retired due to health issues in 2022.

I was then paired with K-9 Hondo who is a three year old Dutch Shepherd from the Netherlands. K-9 Hondo is a gread partner and enjoys work as much as he does belly rubs.

Deputy Sierra & K-9 Buzz

I started my career in law enforcement in 2013 with the
Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department working as a Deputy Sheriff-Custodial. In the fall of 2015, I began the P.O.S.T. Academy graduating in March of 2016.

During my Field Training Program, I was paired with an
F.T.O. who was a K-9 handler. Due to this positive experience, I decided becoming a K-9 handler was going to be a priority.

In the spring of 2018, I joined the K-9 unit as a decoy/agitator. I worked very closely with the K-9 handlers and their canines until the spring of 2021. At this time, I was selected as a K-9 handler for the unit. A short time later I met my K-9 partner, K-9 Buzz.

K-9 Buzz is a Belgium Malinois and was born in the
Netherlands in 2019. He is a very social and hardworking canine. Fun fact, K-9 Buzz was named after Buzz Lightyear by my daughter.

 “To infinity and beyond!”

Deputy Zazueta & K-9 Leroy

Field Training Officer (FTO) Zazueta began his law enforcement career with the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department in 2015 after graduating from the Alameda Police Academy. During his time with the Sheriff’s Department, he has served in the Air Unit, Hughson Police Services and was a K-9 agitator for approximately three years. Deputy Zazueta and his K-9 partner Leroy look forward to serving the citizens of Stanislaus County.


Deputy Melao & K-9 Kano

In 2016 I started my law enforcement career with an angency in Northern California. In early 2018, I laterally transferred to the Stanislaus County Sheriff's Department. Early on in my career, I had the opportunity to have multiple field training officers who were canine handlers. This is where I developed a passion to be a canine handler myself.

In late 2018, I became a agitator/decoy and worked closely with other canine handlers and their K-9 partners. In November 2021, I was selected to be a canine handler. Shortly after I met my partner, K-9 Kano. Kano is a cross between Belgian Malinois and German Sherpherd. Kano was born and raised in the Czech Republic. Fun fact, Kano was born on July 11, 2020 which is free slurpee day. Unfortunately, Kano cant have Slurpees but I make sure to get one in his honor.

Deputy Block & K-9 Merlin

I began my career in law enforcement after sucessfully graduating from the 151st Alameda County Sheriff's Office Academy Class in the fall of 2014. After a few years of working in the Patrol Division, I became a Recruit Training Officer in the Training Division.

In the Spring of 2021, I was fortunate to join the K-9 Unit as an agitator/decoy in hopes to pursue my career goal of becoming a handler. After working a few years in the Training Division, I returned to the Patrol Division to further pursue a handler position and was ultimately selected as a handler in the Spring of 2022.

I was partnered with Merlin who is a German Shepherd and Belgian Maniois mix. He was born on March 6, 2020. Other than coming to work, Merlin's favorite thing to do is swim in our family pool with his two Australian Shepherd sisters, not to mention Merlin loves to hog all the toys.