The National Association of Postal Supervisors has urged Postmaster General Louis DeJoy to direct the return of Postal Police Officers to the streets in support of United States Postal Service field operations. The move would reverse a U.S. Postal Inspection Service policy announced in 2020 that has sidelined postal police officers from fully protecting postal property, postal carriers and the mail.
NAPS President Ivan D. Butts, in a December 3, 2021 letter, urged PMG DeJoy to restore Postal Police patrol and field operations to respond to increasing crime and homicides that are endangering the safety of postal employees and the mail. President Butts’ letter is attached below.
Last year, according to Chief Postal Inspector Gary Barksdale, the Postal Inspection Service responded to more than 7,000 reports of violent crimes against postal employees, including threats, assaults and homicides.
“We cannot allow these kinds of assaults upon carriers and other postal employees to continue,” NAPS President Butts said. “While the Postal Service alone cannot reduce crime, the Postal Inspection Service needs to use its resources more smartly, including optimization of its Postal Police Officer (PPO) workforce. Greater PPO surveillance and patrols of high-risk neighborhoods, especially along the routes that carriers cover, is necessary.”
An August 25, 2020 Postal Inspection Service directive generally prohibits postal police officers from providing patrol coverage of letter carrier routes and limits postal police presence at postal facilities. The directive, issued by Deputy Chief Inspector David Bowers, prohibits PPOs from exercising their “law enforcement authority in contexts unrelated to Postal Service premises.” Under the policy, PPOs are restricted from taking action when felonies against postal employees occur in their own presence.
A bipartisan legislative proposal in the House of Representatives, The Postal Police Reform Act of 2021 (H.R. 5587), is aimed at the Postal Inspection Service directive and would make uniform the law enforcement duties and responsibilities of postal police officers and postal inspection officers.
Postal Police Captain Butch Maynard, president of NAPS Branch 51, appeared on the December 10, 2021 edition of the NAPSChat podcast to discuss the role of the U.S. Postal Police in protecting the safety of postal employees and the mail. The podcast is available here.