Great Barrington — It was a dog-and-pony show — minus the horse.
At Monday’s Select Board meeting (Nov. 13), the Great Barrington Police Department and Chief Bill Walsh showed off their newest recruits, including Titan, a two-year-old German Shepherd brought on as the latest addition to the department’s K-9 unit.
“He’s our newest police dog,” Great Barrington K-9 officer Tim Ullrich told the board. “He’s been on the street since the spring.”
Titan came to the department in March from Hungary. He completed 10 weeks of patrol school in the spring and just completed another four weeks of narcotics detection school — yes, police dogs actually go to school.
“So he’s fully certified,” Ullrich explained. “We’re excited for him to be back to work after a month of training.”
The pooch seemed ready for action, emitting yelps of approval whenever Ullrich petted him — or whenever a friendly audience member gazed at him. This prompted Ullrich to state the obvious: “He’s full of energy.”
Selectmen Ed Abrahams, who is also president of the Friends of Great Barrington Libraries, reminded the officers and the audience that the public will have another chance to meet Titan on Saturday, Nov. 25, at 1:30 p.m. in the Mason Library.
Titan’s appearance will also be accompanied by a brief demonstration of his estimable talents. Walsh emphasized that the K-9 program “is funded entirely through donations.”
Walsh then moved to his most recently hired officers, whom he announced with the pride one normally expects from a new father. He started with the two newest full-time members of the force.
First is Andres Huertas, who graduated from the State Police academy in New Braintree back in June. Huertas was at the academy for five months,
“He got through it with excellent flying colors,” Walsh said, adding that Huertas has been well known in the area for several years as the boys JV soccer coach at Monument Mountain Regional High School.
Next is Olivia Cobb, whom Walsh said was recently appointed by Town Manager Jennifer Tabakin. Cobb, who has been a part-time officer in Great Barrington for about a year, will be attending the police academy in Springfield in February and will be gone for five months.
“She came up through the ranks and she’s really done an excellent job for us,” said Walsh. “In the short time she has been with us, Olivia has been heavily involved in volunteer activities representing the police in the Special Olympics. It happens to be a passion of Olivia’s.”
And there are two officers who have been going through field training for the last six months: Bradley Lupiani and Elias Casey. In the next few weeks Walsh said he hopes to have them “out in the cruisers working shifts by themselves.”
Lupiani owns his own landscaping business in the area and is also a student at Western New England University studying criminal justice. A native of Great Barrington, Lupiani “will be a good fit for the police department,” Walsh said.
Casey works for Cintas Uniform Services in Lee and lives in Great Barrington, where he has been a member of Fire Department for six years.
“We think it’s a nice addition to have somebody who’s actually a fireman,” Walsh said.
Walsh then asked Sgt. Adam Carlotto to grab something the chief had brought with him: a framed copy of the Great Barrington Police Department’s accreditation by the Massachusetts Police Accreditation Commission. Carlotto presented it to the selectmen’s table, where it was accepted by Chairman Sean Stanton.
“It was a teamwide effort,” Walsh said. “The best part of it is we were the first department in Berkshire County to get it.”