AUBURN — You know you've had an impressive career when surly police officers bake for you.
At the Auburn police station Wednesday night, a bunch of them got together with the bone-topped cake to say goodbye to Inka, a German shepherd who's been working a beat for six years.
Inka's handler, Cpl. Scott Corey, is off to work for the Maine Computer Crimes Task Force. Inka will go to live with a member of the police family, free to chase Frisbees in the middle of the afternoon if she's so inclined. No one will begrudge her. She put in her time.
"She's been great," Corey said. "I'm going to miss her."
When it was time, Inka dove into the cake, gulping a few of the bones before going at the frosting. Who could blame her? It was flavored with cinnamon, cream cheese, vanilla and peanut butter.
The baker? Auburn police officer James Phillips.
"I couldn't believe he baked a cake," Corey said. "I was shocked."
Corey got a cake, too, but it was store-bought. No matter, he said. The night was all about Inka and her long, impressive career.
As a "dual-purpose" K-9, Inka worked in both patrol and narcotics. She is trained to track people, search buildings, look for evidence, restrain suspects and overcome obstacles.
In drug training, she was taught to sniff out marijuana, cocaine, heroin, crack and hashish. If Inka wanted to look for work elsewhere, she certainly has the resume for it.
She's found lost children and sniffed out evidence used in violent crimes. Among other highlights of Inka's career, she:
* Conducted more than 230 drug searches on people, cars and residences.
* Performed more than 130 tracks.
* Participated in the seizure of more than $131,000 in drug forfeiture money.
* Has taken part in the seizure of well over 20 pounds of processed marijuana.
* Located 72 grams of crack cocaine in one find.
* Has displayed her skills at more than 20 live demonstrations at schools, camps, day cares and public events.
* Found an 8-year-old boy in crisis who had run away from his parents. After the long track, Corey ended up carrying both Inka and the boy out of the woods so the boy could be reunited with his family.
* Located a pair of gloves and a baseball bat that had been used in an aggravated assault. This evidence linked the suspects to the crime and police said they could not have done that without her help.
Corey’s favorite story, though, was the time he and Inka conducted a track from a home that was burglarized to the spot where the suspect was found. At the trial, the judge told Corey that without the evidence from Inka's track, the suspect would not have been convicted.