Welcome to the County of Berks
Welcome to the Coroner's Office

Mission Statement:

Our action serves to represent those who can no longer speak for themselves; to assume jurisdiction over persons who have succumbed to injuries, accidental or by the hands of another by unlawful means; ensuring the decedent and their survivors are treated with the highest levels of dignity and respect.

Goals & Objectives:

The goal of the Coroner's Office is to provide the citizens of Berks County with thorough, complete and professional investigations.

About the Department:

The Coroner's Office is mandated by law to investigate deaths independent and parallel to the Police. The office determines cause and manner of all sudden, unexplained and unnatural deaths, as well as natural deaths where medical attendance was not present.

The office investigates approximately 3,000 deaths each year with approximately 90% being natural causes.

About the Coroner:

The Coroner is elected by the qualified electors of Berks County for a four year term. The elected Coroner and his appointed Chief Deputy and full-time deputies are required to complete at least 40 hours of instruction. They are certified upon completion of an examination. The Coroner, Chief Deputy, and all full-time deputies are required to have at least 8 hours of continuing education annually. In this county, all part-time deputies also receive the same training as full-time deputies.

Being involved with high school and college programs, serve on professional Death review teams; Berks County Children and Youth (child death, Cribs for Kids), Office of Aging, Women in Crisis and any other organization requesting our help. The Coroner provides information to other professional organizations such as, Berks County Courts, District Attorney, Probation Office (County and State), Legislative Offices (State and Federal), news media, etc.

The Coroner needs to be proactive in the community to help eliminate needless deaths.


The Coroner may appoint one or more deputies to act in his place and stead, as he may deem proper and necessary. Such deputy or deputies shall have the same powers as the Coroner.



Office of the Coroner
1047 MacArthur Road, Suite 200
Reading, PA 19605
Phone: 610-478-3280
FAX: 610-478-3289
Office: The Coroner's Office is staffed 24/7, 365 days a year. For copies of reports, please contact the office and ask to speak with the Open Records Officer. For general business, normal office hours are from 7:30 A.M. til 5:30 P.M. Outside of these hours, please contact the on-duty deputy for help and information.

Dennis J. Hess,



Jonn M. Hollenbach
Chief Deputy

Kurt E. Katzenmoyer
Asst. Chief Deputy 

Kevin E. Neiswender
Asst. Chief Deputy

J. Peter Landis