The U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) is a federal branch of law enforcement, security arm of the U.S. Postal Service and is a part of Homeland Security.
Founded by Benjamin Franklin, the Inspection Service is one of the nation’s oldest federal law enforcement agencies. U.S Postal police officers are the uniform division of the USPIS. They are present in all major cities. The U.S. Postal Inspection Service works with other Homeland Security agencies towards enemy combatant against terrorism, such as the huge role the U.S. Postal Inspection Service played in the Anthrax mail attack on October 2, 2001, with the nation still recovering from the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Twenty-two people were infected with spores from the anthrax letter attacks. The letters, addressed to government officials and members of the media, led to the infection of nine U.S. postal workers and the death of two. Before the end of that October, the American public became frighteningly familiar with phrases like cross-contamination, bioterrorism, and the difference between inhalation and cutaneous (skin contact) infections. Its jurisdiction is defined to prevent crimes such as fraudulent use of the U.S. Mail, the postal system and the protection of postal employees.
Today, while post offices, postal employees and mail are common sights across the country, Americans may not realize that behind each is a network of U.S. Postal Inspectors working to keep the mail safe and empowering consumers to protect themselves and prevent crimes. Postal inspectors play a key role in restoring mail service and returning a sense of normalcy to communities shattered by natural and man-made disasters, from floods and wildfires to airplane crashes and terrorist attacks. The Postal Inspection Service is responsible for protecting postal employees and enforcing postal laws; plant and personnel security; conducting various internal audits within the Postal Service; and conducting criminal investigations and presenting evidence to U.S. Attorneys and other prosecutors on these investigations.
As a sworn federal law enforcement officer, postal inspectors have the power to serve warrants and subpoenas issued under the authority of the United States; make arrests without warrant for postal-related offenses committed in their presence; make arrests without warrants for postal-related felonies cognizable under the laws of the United States, if they have reasonable grounds to believe that the person arrested has committed or is committing such a felony; carry firearms, and make seizures of property as provided by law.
Our mission statement reads as follows:
The mission of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service is to support and protect the U.S. Postal Service and its employees, infrastructure, and customers; enforce the laws that defend the nation’s mail system from illegal or dangerous use; and ensure public trust in the mail.
If your investigation needs a friend inside the U.S. Postal Service, don’t hesitate to call your local agent.
Sgt. Michael E. Smith has over 21 years with the United States Postal Inspection Service in Atlanta, Georgia. He was promoted to the rank of Sergeant in June 2002. He is currently a Firearms and Defensive Tactics Instructor with the United States Postal Inspection Service. He is responsible for training and qualifying officers with handguns, shotguns, and the Heckler & Koch MP5, specialized weapons training as well as maintenance, repair and armorer inspection of weapons. He also has Glock, Sig Sauer and Remington Armorer certifications. His role as a Threat Management Instructor is to help prepare officers with the skills they need, to survive the challenges they face in today’s world.