One of the oldest law enforcement roles in the US, a postal inspector’s job involves ensuring the overall safety and security of postal services including postal facilities, employees and the mail.
Licensed to carry a firearm, a postal inspector is authorized to make arrests, provide testimonials, serve subpoenas, execute search warrants, prepare comprehensive reports, pursue and/or restrain suspects and protect himself or herself and the others in the vicinity from any imminent danger.
As the person charged with ensuring the safety of postal employees, the postal inspector is responsible for carrying out thorough investigations to any assaults or threats that may be directed at postal employees as they perform their tasks. The safety of employees as well as postal mail recipients is closely tied to the integrity of the mails circulated in the postal system.
Therefore, the PI must ensure postal mails are secure and that bombs, biological weapons and other dangerous chemicals are not sent through the postal system as this could have severe impact on customers, employees and general operations.
In addition, the postal inspector must keep tight control on the distribution of illegal or prohibited items such as narcotics and child pornography. The inspector must enforce laws that prohibit the distribution of mails that contain threats, fraud, extortion and blackmail.
Where such items are found in the system or if there is reasonable suspicion to believe that such items are in circulation, the postal inspector initiates investigations to get to the bottom of the matter.
Ensuring the integrity and security of the postal system also means doing all that is required to prevent customer mails from malicious destruction and deliberate and unreasonable delay. That way, the PI plays an active role in improving the overall customer experience by making sure that postal mail recipients get their mails on time, intact and free from tampering.
Due to the sensitive nature of the mails that pass through the postal service, the security of postal premises is vital. The postal inspector takes all necessary measures to ensure that the postal facilities are safe.
Any potential loopholes that may allow unauthorized access to sensitive areas of the postal premises must be sealed. Doing this may require the use of manual and electronic control and surveillance systems such as CCTV, sentries, electronic swipe cards and biometric authentication.
Postal inspectors are also at the forefront of preventing the forging or alteration of postage stamps, postal money orders and other postal products as these are keys to preserving the public’s confidence in the mailing system. The inspector possesses the authority to pursue and apprehend individuals that are engaged in such crimes and also train postal employees to recognize such counterfeit items.
Applicants for a postal inspector career have better chances of being hired if they possess a four year degree, preferably on criminal justice from a reputable institution. The ability to coherently speak and write in English is a must – a working knowledge of other foreign languages such Spanish, Chinese, Russian and Japanese is an added advantage.