Alaska ferry service may have to pay armed Canadian police

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A “Made in Alaska” sticker is pictured on the side of the new ferry Tazlina, which was all constructed in Alaska, on Sunday, May 5, 2019, in Juneau, Alaska. (Alex McCarthy/Juneau Empire via AP)

JUNEAU, Alaska – Alaska will pay Canadian armed police to provide protection to US personnel. UU At a ferry terminal in British Columbia, state transportation officials said.

In March, the Alaska Marine Roads System was notified that unarmed United States Customs and Border Protection officers who control ferries leaving Prince Rupert, British Columbia, will require assistance from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. on Friday CoastAlaska.

Without armed police in the inspections, the port faces a closure, authorities said.

Canadian officers will be hired through the ferry service, which faces budget cuts by the Alaska Legislature.

Federal officials who order the change “never volunteered” to help the state finance the contract, but Alaska officials consider it the cost of doing business, said ferry system general manager John Falvey.

“I do not think it’s going to be a large sum of money,” said Falvey.

Alaska officials have a deadline of October 1 to finalize a plan, he said.

Passengers and vehicles boarding Alaska ferries in Prince Rupert, 117 miles (188 kilometers) south of Ketchikan, are routinely reviewed by US agents. UU The “prior authorization” system allows passengers to disembark without submitting documents again, officials said.

US personnel can not carry firearms while carrying out passport and contraband controls on Prince Rupert, said Jerry McGee, director of the port of auxiliary area of ​​the customs service in Anchorage.

“It’s a sovereign nation and we do not have that authority,” McGee said.

Passengers can carry hunting rifles and shotguns, which are legal in both countries.

“Therefore, in theory, our staff would be the only one who is not armed,” McGee said.

Several years are missing for an agreement that allows US agents to carry firearms at Prince Rupert, authorities said.

 

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