WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) today announced that she will introduce a bill to combat mail theft by clarifying the authority of U.S. Postal Police Officers (PPOs) to protect mail, U.S. Postal Service (USPS) property, and USPS employees. “Mail theft, particularly of checks, which is especially problematic, has been increasing in the District of Columbia and throughout the country recently,” Norton said. “One of the most effective ways we can protect mail, postal property, and postal employees is to clarify the authority of U.S. Postal Police Officers (PPOs). My bill would make it clear that PPOs have the authority to protect mail, postal property, and postal employees wherever they are located.”
Under federal law, PPOs are authorized to protect “property owned or occupied by the Postal Service… and persons on that property,” but USPS interprets that authority to be limited to USPS real property, so USPS does not allow PPOs to protect, for example, USPS vehicles, USPS collection boxes, or USPS employees outside of USPS real property. Norton’s bill would allow PPOs to protect mail, USPS property, and USPS employees wherever they are located.
Norton previously sent a letter to USPS about the increase in mail theft, to which USPS responded, acknowledging such an increase.