Constable Edward Dixon was stationed at Miles Canyon in 1898 during the height of the Klondike Gold Rush. Dixon's job at Miles Canyon was to inspect every stampeder's boat for sea-worthiness and make sure every boat owner was competent enough to navigate the treacherous rapids that snaked through the narrow canyon.
Before the RCMP put this protocol in place, they had on record thirty boats that had been totally wrecked in the rapids out of the 7,000 that passed, five people drowned, and that three-hundred vessels damaged. After Dixon was sent to Miles Canyon to inspect the boats and their captains, there were few accidents and no deaths. Dixon was a very clever pilot and he ran the boats through when there was no one else qualified. He also took most of the paddlewheelers through. The Miles Canyon detachment should have had five officers to handle the workload, but had three.
In 1898, Mr. Frank Dunleavy accused Constable William Richards of canvassing business for Dixon for his private benefit. Superintendent Sam Steele investigated the charge and found it to be unfounded. Pilots at Canyon City would charge $25 to bring through a boat or barge, $150 for a steamer and $20 for a small boat. Dixon and other officers, on the other hand, would run the boats through for free if an owner couldn't do it himself and had no money to pay the pilots.
Dunleavy, who was later described as a “professional agitator,” also accused Constable Matthew Fyffe of firing shots across the bow of any boat that failed to stop at the Canyon City detachment. Superintendent Sam Steele ordered Fyffe to report to Dawson City under arrest. An inquiry found that Fyffe had fired in front of one or two boats.
The first commissioner of the Yukon, Major James Walsh, had ordered police to stop all boats for liquor at Canyon City, an extremely difficult task for inexperienced pilots to do at that spot, to search for liquor. That he got the majority of boats to stop, showed that Fyffe was showing great diligence at his job and Steele excused Fyffe of all wrong-doing in the case of shooting at the boats. Said Steele: It was “injudicious to order a search at so many posts down the river and I understand Major Walsh to intimate as much the last time I meet him.” Steele ordered the boats at Whitehorse be searched at night and not at all if the owner produced a ticket or slip showing that they had been searched at Tagish Post.
Not all North-West Mounted Police officers were innocent. Constable James Allmark of the Hunker Creek detachment went to inspect human bones found at the Discovery Claim of Last Chance Creek, near Dawson City. Allmark solved the murder when he successfully linked the bones to the disappearance of Louis Bellias, who vanished around the time Bellias’ partner, “Little Joe the Greek” Starvos fled to join the Gold Rush in Nome, Alaska. The Mounties sent word to Nome and Starvos was apprehended and sent back to Canada, to Victoria, where Inspector Strickland escorted him back to the Yukon and Starvos was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment.
Constable Allmark then shocked everyone when he stole money from the NWMP and deserted. Regretting his actions, Allmark wrote to Superintendent Wood from Circle City, Alaska, about the possibility of returning. The result of their negotiation was that Allmark returned the money and the charge of theft was dropped. Allmark served six months for desertion.