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The U.S. Postal Inspection Service is mandated to protect and keep the integrity of the whole Postal Service system. Postal inspectors do not only ensure that the mail gets delivered, they also see to it that postal clients and postal employees are kept safe while performing their work. Seeing to it that public trust remains in the mail system is at the core of their duties.
As a Federal law enforcement agency, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service is one of the country’s oldest. Just in 2011 alone, postal inspectors have arrested more than 5,500 suspects for crimes involving the USPS. These include mail theft and mail-related fraud, including mail thieves who recruit the homeless to cash stolen checks. In one of their largest initiatives together with other agencies, postal inspectors also took part in Operation Due North. This was an effort to stop criminal networks that operate fraudulent telemarketing and lottery schemes. In this operation, they were able to arrest 14 suspects and disrupt the operations of 11 major criminal networks.
In the national level, the Postal Inspection Service has also worked with the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission in their national initiatives to curb mail fraud. They have stopped over 5 million foreign lottery mail pieces with counterfeit checks worth $675 million. They have also seized counterfeit postal and non-postal money orders totaling nearly $155 million that were sent by international criminal groups to the U.S.
Postal inspectors have also done their part in putting a stop to the sexual exploitation of children. Through their investigations, they have identified more victims under 5 years old compared to the previous years. As a result, the courts have ordered more than $1 million in restitution to these child victims.
To ensure that confidence is maintained in the U.S. Mail, postal inspectors work closely with the financial service, airline, and mail order industries. They are also members of the Identity Theft and Economic Crimes Task Force, Joint Terrorism Task Forces at both national and state levels, and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. They also have 18 mobile command centers and mobile mail-screening station to respond quickly to natural disasters.
With the help of modern screening equipment, postal inspectors were able to keep post offices and postal facilities safe by identifying hazardous substances and other suspicious items. Last year alone, there were more than 3,550 incidents that involved suspicious items, powders or liquids in the mail, and even improvised explosive devices that postal inspectors were able to intercept. They also confiscated illegal drugs delivered through the mail. In 2011, they seized $13.1 million in proceeds.
If you want to learn more about the United States Postal Inspection Service or want to work as a postal inspector, you may visit their website at https://postalinspectors.uspis.gov/.