Dear Representatives Garbarino and Pascrell,
I am writing on behalf of the members of the Fraternal Order of Police to advise you of our support for H.R. 5587, the “Postal Police Reform Act.”
In late August of 2020, Postal Police Officers (PPOs) with the United States Postal Inspection Service (USPIS)—America’s first and oldest Federal law enforcement agency—were informed of a new directive from the United States Postal Service (USPS) that banned them from performing their patrol duties that safeguard our nation’s letter carriers and mail off USPS grounds. The directive, authored by Deputy Chief Inspector David Bowers, said officers “no longer had any law-enforcement authority, whatsoever, except when they are physically stationed on real estate owned or leased by the Postal Service.”
The 2006 legislation “Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act (PAEA),” passed by Congress and signed into law, provides that PPOs shall have law enforcement authority over postal “property,” meaning all forms of USPS property. Prior to this directive, PPOs would routinely go off site to protect letter carriers and mail in dangerous areas as well as to stop theft from carriers and collection boxes. Unfortunately, this directive has restricted law enforcement officers from fulfilling their duty and undoubtedly jeopardizes the safety of America’s letter carriers and mail:
- On 5 October 2020, just one month after this directive was given, a letter carrier in Milwaukee was robbed while delivering mail. The letter carrier was approached by two individuals who told the letter carrier they would hurt him if he didn’t give them what they wanted.
- On 13 July 2021, a letter carrier was robbed by an armed suspect in Minneapolis.
- In the span of one week in September 2021, three letter carriers were robbed, as well as one attempted robbery, in Oakland and Berkley, California. In all of these cases, the thieves went after mailbox keys.
Your legislation would take much-needed action to address the increase of violence against USPS employees and letter carriers as well as mail theft. The 2020 directive shackled these brave men and women from protecting USPS personnel and property, undoubtedly jeopardizing their safety. The bill you’ve introduced would reverse the 2020 directive, enhance public safety, and empower the men and women of the Postal Police to protect and serve.
On behalf of the more than 364,000 members of the Fraternal Order of Police, I am proud to offer our support for this legislation. If I can be of any further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact me or Executive Director Jim Pasco in our Washington office.