These are not isolated incidents. In fact, there were an astounding 500 mail robberies in 2022, and there’s little indication that security is improving. Yet, the U.S. Postal Service refuses to allow the postal police force to conduct patrols and protect mail carriers, instead sequestering them around agency buildings. Postal leadership must protect its workforce and ensure a safe, secure mail system.
Amid soaring postal theft, lawmakers have vented their frustration to postal leadership that mail carriers don’t have anyone watching their backs. During a May House Oversight and Accountability subcommittee hearing, Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Maryland, asked Postmaster General Louis DeJoy whether the service has “continued to prevent postal police officers from doing their jobs … by traveling to wherever the problem is taking place?”
DeJoy responded that he has no authority to deploy the 700-strong police force to high-crime areas because of laws on the books. The relevant legal language states that the service “may employ police officers for duty in connection with the protection of property owned or occupied by the Postal Service or under the charge and control of the Postal Service, and persons on that property, including duty in areas outside the property to the extent necessary to protect the property and persons on the property.”
That’s a mouthful, but it’s easy to see where postal leadership has gone astray in their interpretation of the law. The “protection of property owned or occupied by the Postal Service” makes it sound like the postal police force is limited to securing post offices and administrative buildings.