Armand Dupre, who retired from his position as the Bel Air Police Department's deputy chief earlier this month, died at his White Hall home Tuesday.

Mr. Dupre was diagnosed with cancer more than a year ago and the illness prevented him from being in the office for much of the last year.

Mr. Dupre served more than 33 years with the police department, serving as a voluntary member of the police auxiliary before being hired as an officer in September 1978.

During his career he filled a variety of roles ,including patrol officer, corporal and sergeant, firearms instructor, administrative sergeant and deputy chief.

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He was also the department's police dog handler in 1990, handling a yellow lab named Woody, who was the first lab trained in the state for both drug detection and patrol work, according to a release from the police department.

Mr. Dupre was awarded a number of commendations during his career, including a life-saving award.

The former deputy chief is remembered by his colleagues for his patience, dedication and dry sense of humor.

"I always thought he was a little competitive with me about who was the first to come in and the last to leave," Chief Leo Matrangola said of his former colleague.

Matrangola laughed as he remembered the competition.

"We never talked about it," Matrangola said.

Matrangola added that if he arrived at the office around 7:30 a.m. and the deputy chief arrived after him, he noticed the next day that Mr. Dupre would arrive at 7 a.m.

The unspoken game was just one example of Mr. Dupre's dedication to the police department.

"He never took a sick day, for 30 years," Matrangola said.

The town has a limit on the number of sick days that can transfer to the next year.

"He had been over the maximum for 10 years," Matrangola said.

The chief said his late colleague was always willing to go to lunch with a colleague and if he had an evening meeting to attend, he would simply stay at the office until the meeting, regularly putting in 10- or 12-hour workdays.

Matrangola said former members of his shift have been asked to be pallbearers at Mr. Dupre's funeral.

"I think that that says a lot about who your friends are," Matrangola said.

He added that Mr. Dupre had friends outside the police department, but was very close with those who are part of it.

"It's not only a profession for him, it's a way of life," Matrangola said.