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FLEOA Asks President for More Support of USPS LE

FLEOA Asks the President for More Support of USPS Law Enforcement

October 8, 2020

The Honorable Donald J. Trump

President of the United States

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW

Washington, DC 20530-0001

 

Dear Mr. President,

We are writing to you today to express our grave concerns about the security of the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) system and the safety of its facilities and personnel. FLEOA is the nation's largest professional non-partisan association, representing almost 29,000 federal law enforcement officers from across all 65 federal agencies. This includes the brave men and women who serve as U.S. Postal Police Officers and Inspectors, who perform a critical national security role by ensuring the safety, security, and integrity of the postal system and the U.S. mail.

The U.S. Postal Service website says, "Our Postal Police Officers (PPOs) are a crucial part of the Inspection Service team. Stationed in critical postal facilities across the nation, they stand on the frontlines in the fight to protect postal employees, customers, and property. PPOs create a sense of security and safety for employees and the American public. Their presence keeps employees free from danger in the workplace and our customers feeling safe. And if disaster strikes on postal property—whether it’s natural or man-made—PPOs are often the first to respond." Unfortunately, that sense of safety and security is being reduced as the Postal Service and its employees are confronting increasing crime, violence, and attacks in the 20 Metropolitan areas they serve in.

As has been widely reported, the USPS has seen dramatic increases in targeted violence against the U.S. mail, its employees, and facilities all while grappling with delivering on its Constitutional obligation during the COVID-19 pandemic. Due to poor budgetary and management decisions, however, the ability of USPS to respond to these increased threats has declined significantly in recent years. One of the primary consequences of the poor decision-making of USPS has been a steady decline in staffing levels for the agency’s law enforcement components. Indeed, a force that was once staffed with 2,700 Postal Police officers and 1,874 Inspectors across the country in 1977, has been reduced to 560 Postal Police officers and about 1,200 Inspectors today. In so doing, USPS has undermined the mandate contained in federal law at 18 USC 3061 that federal law enforcement officers be deployed to protect the postal system.
 
As noted, the continued reduction in USPS law enforcement staffing is occurring at a time when the targeting of the postal system is at its historical peak and rising. These staffing reductions, coupled with the increased criminal activity in many jurisdictions, has meant that local police departments—departments that have suffered their own reductions in funding and staffing—are now being tasked with responding to incidents involving USPS facilities and personnel. However, these local departments do not prioritize responding to a criminal incident with the Postal Service which would include an active shooter, due to not having the jurisdiction and an understanding that the Postal Service law enforcement officers would handle those incidents. 

Additionally, to try and solve this issue, U.S. Postal Inspection Service Inspectors have been pulled away from priority criminal investigations involving terrorism, mail fraud, identity theft, revenue fraud, missing children, America’s most wanted, Postal employees dumping voting ballots and ever evolving new crimes that need to be anticipated and investigated, to perform tasks that were formerly, or could be handled by well-trained Postal Police Officers- and at a cost savings to the USPS. These would include responding to carrier assaults, robberies, vehicle break-ins, mail theft complaints in the field, burglary alarms, DMI, accidents, workplace violence, and other crimes to which were commonly handled by Postal Police Officers vs the Inspectors. This is akin to taking a homicide Detective and placing them back on patrol.

All this has done is further degraded the law enforcement capabilities of the postal service and furthered a dangerous trend that, in our view, leaves the Postal Service, its employees, and its customers- the American Public-exposed to increased criminal activity; thereby eroding the public trust in a historically most-trusted American Institution.

To address the continuing reductions of these necessary law enforcement functions and ensure these law enforcement officers and the American people continue to have faith that the U.S. Postal Service and the delivery of mail be protected, we ask the following:

  1. That the Postal Service be requested to return the Postal Police and U.S. Postal Inspectors to their priority missions, including the Postal Police roll of protecting mail facilities and the employees and Postal Inspectors focusing on investigating crimes.
  2. That U.S. Postal Inspectors be granted the right, as passed by Congress and signed into law by you, to avail themselves of the additional family leave rights under the Federal Employee Paid Leave Act. The U.S. Postal Inspectors, as the only non-bargaining unit of the Postal Service, was told that the act did not apply to them and only to USPS bargaining unit employees.
  3. Ensure that U.S. Postal Inspectors are being compensated under the same pay and benefits structure as other federal law enforcement officers. Currently the Postal Service tends to not pay night differential, overtime, and other forms of compensation to Inspectors while also stripping them of federal health insurance (FEHB) and standard federal leave carryover guidelines.
As one of the clearly articulated mandates of the federal government in the Constitution, it is clear that the Postal Service and its law enforcement officers have always been properly viewed as critical to our nation's unity and security. Their role during the pandemic has also highlighted how important the postal system is with keeping America connected. It is imperative that we ensure that a system designed to keep America together not be torn apart by bad decisions and criminal activity.
 
That is why we would like to ask you, Mr. President, who has been an ardent supporter of law enforcement officers and combatting violent crime, to mandate and support changes by the Postal Service to ensure that both the Postal Police and Postal Inspectors mission and benefits structures are consistent with other federal law enforcement officers so that they can continue to ensure both the security and effectiveness of the postal system remain, especially during this election season.
 
Your support these critical federal law enforcement officers are imperative at a time when it is most urgently needed to continue to do what is a priority in your administration, enforce the rule of law.

 

Sincerely,

Larry J Cosme
National President
Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association