Great Barrington Police Department comfort dog, Archer

Great Barrington Police Officer Elias Casey with Archer, the department's new comfort dog. 

Town police are celebrating a young new member of the department — this latest addition is a 5 1/2-month-old black Labrador retriever.

On its Facebook page Friday the department announced the arrival of Archer, a new police comfort dog. Archer is arriving just over a month after the loss of Beko, the first police therapy K-9 in Berkshire County.

Archer’s handler is Officer Elias Casey, who will continue the work Officer Kristopher Balestro started with Beko.

“Archer is in training and hopes to get out to start meeting the community soon,” the post said.

The department lost two dogs in three months this year, beginning with K-9 officer Titan, that died in April from an untreatable tumor. They lost 13-month-old Beko three months later, unexpectedly after a routine medical procedure.

Police had welcomed Beko in to soften community encounters with police, relieve tension, ease stress for crime victims and officers. The loss devastated the department, and Balestro’s family, with whom Beko lived.

Three Southern Berkshire police departments collaborated Friday to arrest a driver who authorities say tried to flee a traffic stop.

About 7 p.m. Friday, an Egremont officer tried to stop a driver for allegedly speeding on Egremont Plain Road, the Egremont Police Department said in a Facebook post.

“The operator of the vehicle failed to stop and increased his speed,” the post said.

Egremont contacted the Great Barrington Police Department, which also tried to stop the vehicle, but the driver continued southbound on Route 7.

The Sheffield Police Department then was notified and sent two units.

“Upon seeing the two additional cruisers the operator of the vehicle pulled to the right and stopped,” the post said.

Egremont Police arrested the 19-year-old driver, from Goshen, Conn., on charges of speeding, negligent operation of a motor vehicle and failure to stop for a police officer.

The Berkshire County Sheriff’s 911 Dispatch Center relayed information to responding officers.

Former state Sen. Ben Downing, a candidate for Massachusetts governor, plans to release his “Transit For All” transportation policy proposal this week.

Downing will outline his transportation plan during a two-week tour, which includes a Wednesday event in Lee. His visit to Morgan House at 33 Main St. will run from 5 to 7 p.m., and those interested can find out more or sign up at tinyurl.com/4edjf6u7 to participate virtually.

The Great Barrington-based The Train Campaign will co-host a keynote discussion in Lee.

Downing, who grew up in Pittsfield, announced his candidacy in February and since has released climate, anti-poverty and child care policy plans.

State Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz and political theorist Danielle Allen have entered the race for the Democratic nomination in 2022. Attorney General Maura Healey has said she will decide “by the fall” whether to run for governor.

On the Republican side, two-term Gov. Charlie Baker has yet to say whether he intends to seek reelection.Primary elections are scheduled for September 2022.

Staff reports