The Town of Great Barrington's Police Department received some devastating news on July 23rd when we lost a dedicated and loving four legged friend who served our community each and every day with pride. The following statement was issued by Police Chief Paul Storti via their Facebook page:

"It is with profound sadness that I have to announce to the community that Officer Beko, our comfort canine has passed away. Officer Beko died unexpectedly shortly after a routine medical procedure. Our Department is devastated, as I know members of our community will be, as well. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his partner, officer Kristopher Balestro and his family, Darlene, Chelsea and Madison. In Officer Beko's short career, he brought comfort and happiness to so many people in our community and beyond. To all who he touched, may his memory be a blessing".

Back in May, Chief Storti hosted an open house as he gave a guided tour of the police station, located at the junction of routes 7, 23 and 41 as area residents received a first hand look at the day-to-day operations on how the town's officers put in a hard day's work in keeping the community safe and sound on a daily basis.

I was in attendance for this interesting look at the police department's interior as our fearless leader took the group to his office where major decisions are made to secure everyone's safety, whether you live or are visiting the area. Next stop: The so-called "nerve center" where officers monitor the daily activity throughout our streets as voices from police scanners permeated the room to signify trouble spots for officers who are in patrol. The dispatch office NEVER closes as it is a 24 hour, 7 day a week facility where an enormous amount of lights, lucite maps and computer screens filter the area with the best that modern technology has to offer. Another tour was also presented in early April and in both cases, the turnout was excellent.

As an added bonus, we were treated to an appearance from Officer Beko. At the time of my entry (the tour was split up in small groups due to precautions stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic). While in the dispatch center, our dear comfort canine was in his own comfort zone, taking it easy in his circular pet bed as he was on a much needed break from his morning routine of performing his duties which he did in high fashion. The youngsters were enamored in seeing him in person and so was I.

Officer Beko will be remembered as a TRUE and dedicated public servant who left us way too soon. His memory will ALWAYS remain eternal and everlasting.

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