By Julie Stricker
At the height of the Alaska gold rush era, the Iditarod Trail was an impor- tant link from the remote Interior
goldfields to tidewater at Seward. In 1910,
Bob Griffiths and his dog team moved a
quarter-million dollars’ worth of gold nearly
500 miles from Iditarod to Seward. It took
thirty-seven days. Along the way he stashed
the gold in the roadhouses he slept in or, in
the more remote areas, he left it in his dog
sled. After all, there was only one trail in and
out, and any thief foolhardy enough to try to
steal the gold wouldn’t get far.
He repeated the trip many times until the
start of World War I, transporting millions of
dollars’ worth of gold. He was never robbed.
Alaska’s security needs have changed dra-
matically in the ensuing century. Today’s
gold mining companies would certainly
never leave their treasure under the table of a
roadhouse. Security is a top concern, but to-
day it’s more about keeping people safe than
it is about the gold, says Anna Atchison, ex-
ternal affairs manager for Kinross Fort Knox.
“As a gold mine, we’re always mindful of
security,” she says. Fort Knox mine, twenty-
five miles northeast of Fairbanks, produced
about 381,000 ounces of gold in 2017. The
company doesn’t discuss how it transports its
gold, but security at the mine itself is directly
tied to safety.
“They’re the first person visitors see as they
come in the door,” Atchison says of the mine’s
security team. “They are an exceptionally
friendly, customer-service oriented team.”
The team consists of about eight people.
“They are the boots on the ground people
for supporting safe operations and all the oth-
er safety measures we have,” Atchison says.
They also check-in mine visitors, keep the
participants in a popular local running race
on a trail that skirts the mine safe, and keep
an eye on the 257.1-ounce gold bar passed
around to visitors during tours.
Security and Safety
For security companies throughout Alaska,
security equates to safety and customer service is paramount. Companies range from
small local operations to branches of national
companies. They watch and protect property
from trespassers, theft, and vandalism. They
provide security at public events such as concerts, political gatherings, races, and other
events. They also provide personal security
and emergency medical treatment.
Security guards act as a deterrent for
crime, says Bobby Gardner, who started B&G
Security Guard Agency in 1998.
“In a city like Anchorage, you’re basically
looking for the night watchman. In the daytime
it’s security for retail,” Gardner says. “It’s more
of a guard presence. You’re typically being a
deterrent. The real work is done by the police
officers. We’re the eyes and ears on the ground.”
Securitas provides services via what it calls
the six pillars: on-site guarding; remote guarding; mobile guarding; electronic security; corporate risk management; and fire and safety.
“Securitas takes a different approach than
most competitors,” says Adam Koehler, marketing manager with Securitas. “We don’t
believe one solution fits all clients. We look
at things holistically and offer protective services. We perform a comprehensive risk assessment and propose a customized solution
based on the client’s needs while taking into
consideration the actual risks at the job site.”
Fairbanks’ Pioneer Park, a forty-four-acre
collection of museums, historic buildings,
and theaters, also includes a popular restaurant and playground. It’s open year-round
and accessible to the public around the clock,
which has posed some problems with vandalism in years past.
Securitas employees in Alaska include armed and unarmed security officers and emergency medical technicians.
Securitas Security Services