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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Comfort K-9 Beacon officially joins the UMass Boston Police Department

Georgia Berry
Students circle around K-9 Beacon for photos before his swearing-in ceremony in the Campus Center. Photo by Georgia Berry / Production Editor.

On Tuesday, Nov. 14, students gathered in the Campus Center Ballroom A to celebrate the induction ceremony for comfort K-9 Beacon, UMass Boston’s Community Resource Dog. Beacon joined the UMass Boston community over the summer, as announced by the UMass Boston Police Department’s Instagram. [1] Students were able to catch him around campus with his handler, Officer Mark Cikacz, before he went off to training in mid-September. After a month of training, Beacon returned with longer legs and an assortment of new skills, ready to officially join the UMass Boston Police Department.

Before the swearing-in ceremony began, students were welcomed to stop by for food and refreshments and to say hello to Beacon. The students were excited to see Beacon, swarming around him for pets and photo-ops. For some, this was their first time meeting the campus dog, while others have had their fair share of encounters. “Beacon is doing a great job,” said Julia Sanchez, a second year student who attended the event. “He’s a great distraction from the stress of classes, and he’s cute!”

Beacon wasn’t the only dog there for students. Babson College’s Community Resource Dog, Roger, came from nearby to support his friend. Many universities have opted to have CRDs on campus for their positive impact on the community. As stated on the UMass Boston website, “Dogs transcend cultures, religious beliefs, and political affiliations. Beacon will provide a segue into establishing stronger relationships and partnerships with our diverse population.” [2] While Beacon is still fairly new to UMass Boston, it is clear he has already become a big deal on campus.

“I think that having a therapy dog will do wonders on this campus. Dogs do such a great job at providing comfort to people,” said student Sophia Roderick, who works with dogs off campus. “Beacon will help so many students and faculty members during his time here. I look forward to seeing Beacon around campus and at events.”

To begin the ceremony, an introduction was given by Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Karen Ferrer-Muñiz, welcoming Beacon and thanking the Cikacz family. Chancellor Marcelo Suárez-Orozco also attended the event to support Beacon. “The badge signifies dedication to protect; to serve. It’s a source of pride and a commitment to service to others,” said Suárez-Orozco in his speech. Additionally, Suarez-Orozco pledged to fill in any gaps in Beacon’s funding each year. Currently, the Community Resource Dog program is being funded through donations to pay for training, food, medical needs and more.

After remarks, Beacon was sworn into the police department by Deputy Chief Kenneth Sprague of UMBPD. Beacon was so excited, he couldn’t sit still and was wagging his tail. A bark couldn’t suffice, so Officer Cikacz recited the oath on his behalf. As an official member of the UMBPD, Beacon will be able to help out on campus in a number of ways. As stated on the UMass Boston website, he will be able to provide support for students as well as work as a de-escalation tool during stress related incidents. [2]

For those who missed the event, there will be many more opportunities to interact with comfort K-9 Beacon on campus. Any students looking to keep up with Beacon can follow him on Instagram @k9beacon for updates.


[1] https://www.instagram.com/p/CvQEtLkOgZd/?igshid=ZjI0YTZmZTMwMg==

[2] https://www.alumni.umb.edu/s/1355/campaign/index.aspxsid=1355&gid=3&pgid=10932#:~:text=Meet%20Beacon%2C%20our%20new%20Community,situations%20with%20our%20campus%20community.

About the Contributor
Georgia Berry, Production Editor