FRAMINGHAM — He started as a dog lost in the woods. Now, a decade later, he has retired after a career finding hidden drugs and people who went astray.
Cam, who has been with the Framingham Police Department for nine years, serving as a narcotics detection dog and friendly-find dog, has retired from the department.
"He's done a lot of good work for us," said his handler, Detective Jeffrey DeRosa. "He's been a really, really good dog and a really good partner."
In 2012, DeRosa, a detective in the narcotics unit, got approval from then-Chief Steven Carl to get a narcotics dog. DeRosa began reaching out to find one when the Plymouth County Sheriff's Office said it may have a suitable candidate.
"It just happens that Plymouth County had just found a dog roaming in the woods at Plymouth State Forest," said DeRosa. "That was Cam."
The Sheriff's Office had searched for possible owners for a couple of weeks before contacting DeRosa. DeRosa and a narcotics dog trainer went to Plymouth and met with the then-unnamed, mixed-breed dog, who appeared to be less than a year old, to evaluate whether it had what it took to be trained as a narcotics dog.
After a 13-week training course in narcotics detection, Cam and DeRosa began working as a team in 2013. A couple of years later, they did an additional 14-week training course, this time to become a friendly-find dog, which means Cam would search for missing and lost people, but not suspects in crimes.
DeRosa said Cam has had a successful career, not only helping to find drugs in Framingham, but for numerous agencies such as the federal Drug Enforcement Agency and the MetroWest Drug Taskforce, which is comprised of officers from Framingham, Natick, Ashland and Marlborough.
"Over the years, he successfully found... I don't even know how many pounds... but large amounts of narcotics — heroin, fentanyl, meth and amphetamines," said DeRosa. "He's probably helped seize more than $3.5 million to $4 million (worth of drugs) over the years."
DeRosa decided it was time for Cam to retire based on his age, as well as the fact that Framingham recently got a new police dog, Isco, who will soon undergo narcotics detection training.
"I had a lot of fun doing it," said DeRosa. "I learned a lot about working with K-9s. It's just about time — almost 10 years is a long time."
Cam will live out his golden years with DeRosa and his family, which includes three other dogs. As for DeRosa, he will remain a member of the drug unit.
"He's a good dog," DeRosa said of Cam. "I'm going to miss driving around with him."
Norman Miller can be reached at 508-626-3823 or email@example.com. For up-to-date public safety news, follow Norman Miller on Twitter @Norman_MillerMW or on Facebook at facebook.com/NormanMillerCrime.
This article originally appeared on MetroWest Daily News: Framingham police friendly-find dog Cam retires after nine years