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Published May 20, 2013, 07:14 PM

Crossing the Border: Keeping border crossing traffic running smoothly

As many 2,500 Canadian cars cross the border at the Pembina border crossing on a busy weekend day. Field officers at the port of entry do what they can to make sure things go as smoothly as possible to avoid long wait times.

By: David Schwab, WDAZ

As many 2,500 Canadian cars cross the border at the Pembina border crossing on a busy weekend day. Field officers at the port of entry do what they can to make sure things go as smoothly as possible to avoid long wait times.

This past weekend is a perfect example of a busy border crossing, with a Canadian holiday weekend. While there can be long lines, it doesn't stop the thousands of passengers headed to Grand Forks and Fargo.

Public Affairs Officer Chris Misson says keeping contraband and the bad guys from crossing the border takes a dedicated crew of 115 officers.

Misson: "We have to facilitate legitimate trade and travel and be professional."

Once at the gate, Misson says it takes an average of five minutes to get processed. But it can take a longer if officers decide to do a more thorough inspection. That's when officers search a little deeper, and travelers say a search like that can feel a bit intrusive.

Robin Vanlinge, Manitoba traveller: "They separate you and make you go through all your stuff itemized. Like even your dirty underwear."

Darren Norlin, Winnipeg traveller: "I Felt like I got invaded, like my privacy."

Officers say most of the time the cars are clean, but occasionaly they do find illegal items.

Tom Horsley, Field Officer: "Marijuana, a lot of times different kinds of medication that might not be with their rightful owner."

Those trying to bring illegal drugs across the border also have to deal with Grey, a drug sniffing dog, and little gets past his nose.

Matt Misson, Field Officer: "He is certified marijuana, hash, cocaine, ecstasy, heroin and meth...affection is his pay day."

Grey is just part of the extra security here. These large pylons detect any kind of radiation.

Mission: "So if someone was trying to bring in a dirty bomb an alarm would go off in the booth."

And similar technology is used for the 900 semi trucks crossing into the states on any given day. Some are subjected to a search that uses a Gama imaging system, both mobile and stationary.

Mission: "Basically it takes a picture of what is inside of the trailer."

David Schwab: "So what is the most common type of contraband confiscated at the Pembina Port of Entry?"

Misson: "Food and plant product...Can't bring an Orange across the border."

And if you're at any port of entry in the Grand Forks sector, smile... You're likely on camera here, where 720 cameras monitor the traffic at the 26 other ports in the sector.

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