USPS is a federally owned and operated organization that handles hundreds of millions of pieces of mail a year.
The post office, just like any other federal organization, has a policing system called the postal police- so what are the postal police, and what do they do?
What Are Postal Police In 2023?
The postal police, also known as postal inspectors, investigate crimes with connections to mail. Crimes connected to mail are called postal crimes, which include mail theft, mail/financial fraud, identity theft, and crimes against postal employees such as assault, threats, and robberies. The postal police are real law enforcement officers, as they are sworn federal officers who carry firearms, make arrests, and serve federal search warrants and subpoenas.
There’s a lot to understand about the postal police, so be sure to keep reading to learn more about them, the crimes they investigate, and how to become a postal police officer!
What Do The Postal Police Do?
The postal police, otherwise known as postal inspectors, are law enforcement that work specifically with the post office on postal crimes.
Postal police are fact-finding, investigative agents that work closely with US attorneys, local prosecutors, and other law enforcement agencies to investigate postal cases and prepare them for court.
This means that the agencies postal police work with vary drastically depending on the case being investigated.
For example, for cases involving international mail, the postal police may work with Customs and Border Protection and Homeland Security, whereas for domestic cases they most commonly work with local police departments and state agencies.
There are approximately 1,200 postal police officers, or postal inspectors, stationed both domestically and abroad who help to enforce over 200 federal laws dealing with crimes that adversely affect or fraudulently use the US postal system.
The main purpose of the postal police is to safeguard more than 600,000 postal service employees and billions of pieces of mail traveling by air, sea, land, and rail.
What Are Postal Crimes?
Postal crimes are crimes that involve the post office, mail, or post office employees.
Postal crimes include:
- Mail theft
- Mail fraud
- Financial fraud
- Identity theft
- Robberies/burglaries of postal facilities
- Assaults/threats on postal employees
- Investigations of dangerous/prohibited mails
Because there is such a wide variety in types of postal crime, the United States Postal Inspector Service, or USPIS, is separated into seven types of investigative teams, each with a different function.
The first is the Fraud team, which deals with investigations into the use of the post office/mail to facilitate fraud against consumers, businesses, and parts of the government.
Types of crime investigated by this unit include mail fraud, bank fraud, credit card fraud, and identity theft.
The fraud investigative team of the USPIS is responsible for the prosecution of many white-collar crimes, including Ponzi scheme cases.
The second investigative team of the USPIS is the External Crimes Team.
The External Crimes team investigates the theft of mail by nonemployees, the robberies, assaults, or murders of postal employees, the burglaries of postal facilities, and the robberies or thefts of postal property.
The main function of the External Crimes team is to maintain the sanctity and trust in the United States postal system, as well as to help ensure the safety of its employees.
The third team of the USPIS is the Prohibited Mailing Investigations, which focuses on the mailing of prohibited contraband such as weapons, explosives, narcotics, or sexually prohibited materials.
The laundering of narcotics and other proceeds through postal money orders is typically categorized under this investigative function.
The fourth team of the USPIS is the Aviation and Homeland Security team, which mostly involves the securing and protecting of transportation of mail as well as any risks that might compromise homeland security.
Security audits are also conducted by this team to ensure that the postal service maintains facilities that are secure from theft and robberies as well as natural and manmade disasters.
The Revenue Investigations team is the fifth USPIS team and investigates cases where fraudulent practices are conducted by businesses and consumers that mail items without proper postage, counterfeit postage, or crimes that defraud the USPS of revenue.
The sixth USPIS team is the International Investigations and Global Security team.
This team ensures that international mail is secured, as well as maintaining the safety and security of international business decisions and campaigns.
The seventh, and final team on USPIS is the Joint Task Force Investigations team, which works on cases that involve other law enforcement agencies working with laws applicable to mail services but that are not specifically postal laws.
Are Postal Police Real Police Officers?
Most people would define “real” police officers as police officers who carry a firearm and are able to make arrests.
If this is the definition of a real police officer we’re using, then yes, postal inspectors are real police officers!
Postal police officers are sworn federal law enforcement officers that carry a firearm, make arrests, and serve federal search warrants and subpoenas.
In an average year, postal police officers:
- Arrest about 12,000 criminal suspects
- Respond to about 800 postal-related assaults and credible threats
- Arrest at least 1,500 suspects for drug trafficking and money laundering
- Arrest hundreds of suspects for child sexual exploitation offenses related to the mail and help to identify child molesters
- Conducts about 4,000 forensic examinations and makes scores of court appearances to provide expert testimony
How Do You Become A Part Of The Postal Police?
The first step before applying for any job is to be sure you qualify for the position.
To be a postal police officer, you must be between 21 and 37 years of age, have a four-year degree, have no felony or domestic violation convictions, speak and write English, be in good physical condition, and have a valid driver’s license.
You also need to be willing to relocate and have to pass a mandatory drug screening as the United States Postal Inspector Service is very committed to a drug-free workplace.
If you do qualify to be a postal police officer, then the next step is to apply!
To apply to this position, you can follow this link to the USPIS website.
Once you’ve created a brief personal profile and filled out the application, you will receive an email with a link to Exam Part I, which is a timed, multiple-choice exam that must be completed within 72 hours of receiving the email.
If you successfully complete Exam Part I, you’ll then receive an Electronic Comprehensive Application Packet, or eCAP, which you must submit with all requested documents within 120 hours of receiving the email.
After the eCAP, you must fill out the Questionnaire for National Security Positions SF 86 and respond to an email invitation to an Information Exchange before moving on to Exam Part II, which is completed at the Information Exchange.
If you pass Exam Part II, you’ll move on to the Language Exam, which is the last step before you’re invited to the Assessment Center in Potomac, Maryland.
Once in the Assessment Center, you’ll be administered a polygraph exam to validate the information you provided on the SF 86 Questionnaire.
After passing a polygraph, you’ll then move on to Management Interviews and then, finally, you’ll enter the selection pool for a two-year period.
Entering the selection pool does not guarantee a position, however- it only allows you the opportunity to find employment as a postal inspector.
Postal police officers, also known as postal inspectors, are sworn federal law enforcement officers that carry a firearm, make arrests, and serve federal search warrants and subpoenas.
Postal police officers work on specifically postal crimes, which are crimes related to mail that include fraud, theft, and crimes against postal workers such as robberies, assault, and threats.
There are seven divisions of the United States Postal Inspection Service, each of which is uniquely suited to a different type of postal crime.
Becoming a postal police officer is a long, labor-intensive process that is detailed on their website, which is also where you can apply to become a postal inspector.