This dog will help to reduce anxiety and provide comfort to crime victims.

The Police Department in Great Barrington is the first in Berkshire County to add a therapy dog to its force.

This one will help reduce anxiety and also will provide comfort to crime victims and witnesses and help increase communications between officers and people who may have been traumatized by violence. He also helps therapeutic relief to the people who work at the police department.

Posted by K9 Officer Beko on Saturday, August 8, 2020

Police Chief William Walsh said in a Facebook post, “A therapy dog is also a valuable tool in fostering dialogue and communications between the police department and the community we serve.”

The dog’s handler is the officer Kristopher Balestro.

A big thank you to Lucas from @operation_happy_pups for sending Officer Beko 2 awesome toys. Keep up the great work…

Posted by K9 Officer Beko on Saturday, August 22, 2020

K9 Officer Beko is an English Labrador Retriever donated by Boonefield Labradors from Rindge, New Hampshire.

Team Boonfield have donated eleven dogs to police departments throughout New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island till today and they have also provide much-needed therapy with their certified therapy dog program.

Getting ready for my first day of work on Monday!

Posted by K9 Officer Beko on Saturday, August 8, 2020

Boonefield Labradors said on their website that therapy dogs play a very important helping role than service dogs and emotional support animals.

Learning dispatch duty today! #k9officerbeko #comfortdog #comfortdogintraining #policeofficerintraining…

Posted by K9 Officer Beko on Monday, September 7, 2020

“They aren’t trained to live with a specific handler.  Rather, these are dogs that – with their human teammate (often the dog’s owner) – volunteer in clinical settings, such as hospitals, mental health institutions, hospices, schools, and nursing homes, where they provide comfort, affection, and even love in the course of their work.  Therapy dogs are trained to be comfortable in new environments and to interact with different people.  They must have a calm temperament, be unfazed by unfamiliar noises and movements, be comfortable being handled, and love people.” 

This dog is working with officer Balestro in his everyday patrol responsibilities, including visits to local schools, the Town Library, Senior Center, hospital and nursing homes, athletic events, and children’s programs. Sergeant Paul Storti spearheaded this new program which was started several months ago. This program is funded 100% by donations and Officer Balestro.

Took the cruiser for a spin today 🚓 #k9officerbeko #comfortdog #comfortdogintraining #beepbeep #policeofficerintraining…

Posted by K9 Officer Beko on Wednesday, September 16, 2020