National Geographic Channel’s TV show, Border Security, about customs officers dealing with strange and sometimes dangerous people is often set in a metropolitan city, most frequently in an airport. But Beaver Creek — the most westerly community in Canada — is a town of about 100 people, and it includes Border Services officers, too.
Mark Locki is a 28-year-old Vancouver native, posted to work at the border in Beaver Creek three years ago. Locki knew exactly where it was, and was really excited when he got the news.
“I started as a student Border Services officer in Vancouver – I worked in a marine container examination facility and at a post office,” recalls Locki. “I was pretty excited for a change. One of my co-workers at the container examination facility moved up [to Beaver Creek], so I already knew someone up here when I was moving up. It made it a little bit easier.”
To prepare for the job, Locki spent 10 weeks in Quebec learning about relevant legislation as well as controls and defensive tactical training.
“I think most importantly for me, because we were in Quebec in January, [was] how to deal with the cold,” laughs Locki.
Later, he received training to operate in a highway environment, and use firearms.
Now that he’s on the job, he says his tasks vary.
“We deal with travelers at the window,” he says. “We deal with commercial traffic as well. But for the most part, it’s just examination of goods. We do a lot of paperwork for goods begin brought into Canada.”
But there are exciting moments too.
“Last year we had a port runner who made it about 250 km before being stopped by the RCMP,” Locki says.
He was on shift when the individual first came through, and referred him for an examination for immigration.
“It was discovered that he had a pretty extensive criminal record in the United States, and through further interview with him, that he was a member of a prison gang.”
After Locki’s shift was done, it was determined that the individual needed to be taken back to the United States.
“When I came in later that night, I found out that when he got back to the United States, he was arrested, but managed to escape arrest, and flee in his car back towards us,” says Locki. “He made it past us by going southbound on the northbound lane.
“So when I came back in, he was still on the loose. It was pretty exciting just hearing about the updates.”
When not working, Locki enjoys the Yukon’s nature.
“It’s amazing up here,” he says. “I think I like small town living a lot better than in Vancouver. I just like all the opportunities to go outside and do interesting things. It’s a beautiful area that not a lot of people get to see. I think more people should.”