Voices of the Bay: Officer Keith Medeiros and K-9 Brody

Bristol’s school resource officer gets a little help from his four-legged friend

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When Bristol Police Department (BPD) school resource officer Keith Medeiros first looked into the chestnut-colored eyes of his new partner, officer Brody, in March 2020, he knew it was the beginning of a special relationship. Brody is a chocolate-brown Labrador therapy comfort dog and the first in the state to be assigned to a school resource officer, paving new ground for the BPD and community. Medeiros, who holds a degree in criminal justice from Roger Williams University always dreamt of being a K-9 officer. He discovered New England Police Comfort Dogs, which led him to Boonefield Labradors, a group of New Hampshire breeders who donate their dogs for therapy comfort programs. Then Medeiros learned about a Massachusetts school with a therapy comfort canine program and proposed to Bristol’s chief Stephen Lynch a similar one for Mount Hope High School. Now Medeiros serves as the officer at Bristol’s elementary schools with Brody in tow. Officer Brody has even developed an international following via Instagram: @bpdk9brody.

DOG TAG: 

I put a survey out to some kids to name our K-9 officer. They said if we are going to name him Rhody, why don’t we name him Brody – “B” for Bristol, “rody” for Rhode Island?

BREAKING DOWN BARRIERS: 

The biggest thing I have taken away from this experience is the kids who never would have come up to any police officer or engage in conversation, who I was getting to know through Brody. As they were petting Brody, I could ask how their day was going, what’s their name and grade, what do they want to be when they grow up. The second part of it was having 50-60 high school students I called my regulars, who were in my office every single day to study and hang with Brody, or if they were in crisis, instead of acting out, they would come to my office, pet Brody and within minutes were able to go back to class and learn.

GOOD BOY: 

A therapy comfort dog is a well-behaved, well-trained dog. It’s a proven fact that canines lower your anxiety. You may not even realize it. Brody can sense when somebody is sad, upset, or maybe afraid of him. With repetition, the student can get comfortable with him. I truly believe Brody brought a culture of camaraderie, of bringing teachers and staff together when they returned after COVID. 

A GREAT WORK DAY: 

I was at an out-of-district school to show them Brody and what we do. I was walking down the hallway and came across a third- or fourth-grader, severely autistic, non-verbal, a flight risk who was in crisis, surrounded by a school psychologist, teacher, and social worker. I asked the student if he wanted to pet Brody; he shook his head no, and then I said, “Could I leave Brody with you while I talk with the adults? I don’t want him to run away.” I put Brody in the down position, started talking to the staff, and maybe 35 seconds later, I turned around and the boy was lying on the floor petting him. It normally took the student an hour to come down from an episode. I asked him if he wanted to walk Brody to the cafeteria (he had never eaten lunch in the cafeteria), and within five minutes he was eating his lunch in the cafeteria. That’s when I knew what we had was really special, not only with Brody, but that other dogs, communities, and school districts could do the same thing for kids. 

Know someone who might be a good fit for Voices of the Bay? Email Nina at YourHomeWithNina@gmail.com

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