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Jim and his dog Charlie take a bite on crime in lakes area

Meet Charlie. He is a cross between a German shorthair and labrador. He was a rescue dog and now is Jim Archibald's business partner at True North Canine Detection Services, LLC, in Brainerd. True North is a private company--not associated with a...

K-9 Charlie looks at his handler, Jim Archibald, during a training this past summer in the Brainerd lakes area. Archibald started up a business called True North Canine Detection Services where he and Charlie search for drugs for their clients.Kelly Humphrey/Brainerd Dispatch - Gallery and Video
K-9 Charlie looks at his handler, Jim Archibald, during a training this past summer in the Brainerd lakes area. Archibald started up a business called True North Canine Detection Services where he and Charlie search for drugs for their clients. Kelly Humphrey/Brainerd Dispatch - Gallery and Video

Meet Charlie. He is a cross between a German shorthair and labrador.

He was a rescue dog and now is Jim Archibald's business partner at True North Canine Detection Services, LLC, in Brainerd. True North is a private company-not associated with any law enforcement agency-hired to search for illegal controlled substances, including methamphetamine, cocaine, marijuana and heroin.

Archibald has decades of enforcement experience under his belt as an employee of the Canada Border Services. He was a regional intelligence officer and was part of the International Border Enforcement Team on the Canadian border before moving to Brainerd about eight years ago. Archibald, who also was involved in a joint task force involving Homeland Security, started his narcotics detection services business two years ago as he has a passion for fighting the war on drugs and he enjoys working with dogs.

Archibald contracts with schools, businesses or any organization wanting to utilize his K-9 search services. Property owners are not required to have a search warrant, like a law enforcement agency is, to have their site searched for illegal substances. For instance, Archibald said if a business owner is suspicious that an employee may have drugs at work and wants to have the workplace searched, they can do so as it is their right. He said some companies are proactive and have a policy in place to do random searches for drugs.

Once a company contracts with True North requesting a drug search, Archibald and Charlie will do a sweep among common areas, such as offices, parking lots, hallways, lunchrooms, warehouses to lockers, the cafeteria or classrooms at schools to search for illegal substances. If any illegal substances are found, Archibald said they do not touch or remove it. The organization is notified of the illegal substance and it is the client's responsibility to take care of the issue, which could include calling law enforcement.

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Charlie was adopted when he was 8-months-old by Midwest K-9, an Iowa-based company comprised of law enforcement officers who train dogs to search for drugs. Archibald purchased Charlie after going through four months of initial training and then another 60 hours of training before Charlie went home with his handler.

They are both certified through Midwest K-9.

"I fell in love with him," Archibald said when he met Charlie. "Charlie has the same certification as a police dog does and he also has to be recertified each year to keep up with his training."

Archibald, who raised and trained three of his own hunting dogs, spends four to five hours a week training Charlie, keeping his skills sharp.

"He is just so excited to find dope," Archibald said. "I know when he picks up an odor, he gives a head snap."

When the handler and K-9 are searching for illegal substances, whether it be at an entertainment or sports venue or a treatment facility, Archibald's commands for Charlie are simple. When Archibald releases Charlie from his leash, he simply states "Go find dope" and Charlie takes off smelling his surroundings.

In a mock training drill held this past summer in the lakes area, Charlie was on a mission to find illegal substances and he did not mess around. The K-9 worked fast sniffing boxes from one end of the building to the other, and there were hundreds of boxes. Once Charlie got a whiff of a scent, he appeared determined, tilting his head, tracking it down and then sitting where he found the scent.

Archibald walked toward Charlie and asked him what he found, while he looked in the box or garbage can where Charlie was. He located the drugs and then looked at the K-9 and said "good check."

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"This is what he works for," Archibald said holding up a rope knot toy. "He could do this (train) all day. He loves it.

"I've always had a passion to do this."

Archibald said even though Charlie is a working dog, he also is a family dog. He said Charlie knows when he is working and when he is off to relax to sleep or to play. Charlie's bed sits next to Archibald's bed.

Archibald said he believes True North Canine is the only K-9 drug search company in Crow Wing County. He said business has been slower than he would like. He said often times when he has approached a business or school about his services, they'll tell him "maybe next year." Archibald said next year could be too late, meaning a student or an employee could be using drugs could be endangering fellow students, coworkers and themselves.

"There is no business or school that is immune to drug use," Archibald said. "And the best and most effective way to find the truth is to do random searches."

Archibald also works with private citizens who suspect a family member is using drugs and would like True North to do a search in their home. Parents who are concerned about their teenagers can also utilize the service and get the help their child needs before it is too late.

Archibald is also currently working with Negen's Investigative Services in Brainerd as a licensed private investigator. Charlie assists with investigation files when needed, Archibald said.

People in the community may know Archibald as he is the former Brainerd High School boys hockey coach and a member of the Brainerd Amateur Sports Foundation, which is part of the Essentia Health Sports Center.

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Archibald was a hockey player on the Minnesota North Stars, on the American Hockey League with the Springfield Indians and with the International Hockey League on the Kalamazoo Wings. He also played college hockey with the University of North Dakota.

Those interested in Archibald's services can go online at http://www.truenorthcaninedetectionservices.com ; jlarchibald15@gmail.com or call 218-839-9075.

National studies

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, nearly 75 percent of all adult illicit drug users in the nation are employed and problems related to alcohol and drug abuse cost American businesses roughly $81 billion in lost productivity yearly. Archibald said in his research, he has found that drug abusers cost American employees money by not being as productive in their work, have a higher number of sick time, can see an increase in employee theft, workplace accidents, violence, lawsuits and insurance claims.

The United States Occupational Safety and Health Administration reported 67 percent of all work-related accidents are the direct result of substance use.

The HHS reports "Illicit drug use, which includes the abuse of illegal drugs and/or the misuse of prescription medications or household substances is something many adolescents engage in occasionally, and a few do regularly. By the 12th grade, about half of adolescents have abused an illicit drug at least once. The most commonly used drug is marijuana but adolescents can find many abused substances, such as prescription medications, glues and aerosols, in the home.

K-9 Charlie sniffs out drugs located in a box during a training held this past summer in the Brainerd lakes area. Charlie is Jim Archibald’s working dog for True North Canine Detection Services.Kelly Humphrey/Brainerd Dispatch - Gallery and Video
K-9 Charlie sniffs out drugs located in a box during a training held this past summer in the Brainerd lakes area. Charlie is Jim Archibald’s working dog for True North Canine Detection Services. Kelly Humphrey/Brainerd Dispatch - Gallery and Video

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