Yuma Police Department soon will be bolstered by a new member.

“Archie” will be certified for active duty in about a week or so, along with his human partner, Officer Jerry Thompson.

His predecessor “Ivan” proved to be very popular in the community, passing away a couple of years ago after 10 years with the YPD. His partner, Rich Henry, retired last year.

Archie comes from the same trainer in Germany. The trainer accompanied him on the flight September 13, to Denver International Airport, where the YPD took custody of the German Shepherd. Archie and Thompson have been spending their weeks since then training at Fort Collins Protection Dogs & Training Inc. The training will wrap up in the next week or so.

“He’s doing really great so far,” Officer Thompson said. “It’s more me catching up with the dog.”

Archie is being trained in patrol and detection. The patrol side of it involves tracking, suspect apprehension and article inspection. As for detection, he is trained to identify seven different narcotics, including marijuana, methamphetamine, cocaine, and heroin.

Thompson has learned some German words as Archie learned commands in that language. However, the officer said they are transitioning into some English words for patrol commands.

Thompson has been in law enforcement for nearly 12 years. He was with the YPD from 2007 to 2010, then made the rounds in northeast Colorado, serving with agencies in Kit Carson, Washington and Logan counties, before ending up back with the YPD in April 2017.

He said he had been interested in taking on the K9 duty when Ivan first came on board, but he knew he would be leaving for other agencies. When the opportunity arose again this past year, he was ready.

“I asked for volunteers and he was the only one who stepped forward,” Chief Jon Lynch said.

YPD Officer Jerry Thompson and the department’s new K9 officer Archie will be certified for duty soon. (Photo by Hannah Lungwitz/Small Town Photos)

The chief added that “jobs” already are being lined up for Archie and Officer Thompson, particularly by area schools interested in having the police dog visit their campuses.

It has been a true test getting the K9, and his handler, ready for active duty.

“It’s a lot of work,” Thompson said. “I think the biggest part is keeping up with the training.”

He added that the training is continuous, including he and Archie spending one hour each work day on training.

“These dogs are amazing in what they can do,” he said. “They’re only limited by our imagination. Any dog is only limited by the handler.”

Archie’s service is expected to last about five to six years (Ivan really went above the norm with his 10 years of service), so Thompson plans on making the most of it.

“Oh yeah, I love it,” he said. “There’s definitely a lot of minor details; I mean like how you hold the leash, the different signals it gives the dog. It’s more reflection of the voice than what I actually say. I’m excited to get going, put his training and my training to use.”

He described Archie as a very social dog, not aggressive — at least not until called upon. He said Archie is getting in his aggressiveness as the training progresses.

ACE/Quality Farm & Ranch Center has gotten involved, donating food for Archie and also helping acquire a kennel to keep at Thompson’s house.

That’s because Archie and Thompson are now partners 24/7.

“He pretty much never leaves my side,” Thompson said.