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Postmaster General Louis DeJoy says Postal Police can’t do street patrols, but union disagrees

Louis DeJoy is a general who will not deploy his troops where needed – on the front lines of the fight against crime.

As United States Postmaster General and Chief Executive Officer of the U.S. Postal Service, DeJoy oversees hundreds of armed, uniformed police officers who are sworn to protect “employees, infrastructure, and customers…and to ensure the trust of the public in the mail”.

The public might have more confidence in a Postal Service plagued by increasing crime if DeJoy sent his police officers to prevent crime by performing street patrols to protect employees. Under current policy, the Postal Police guard post offices and other facilities, but do not protect employees on the streets.

Some of these streets are dangerous.

Postal Service report shows mail thefts are skyrocketing. The first six months of the 2023 financial year recorded 305 thefts from postmen. If this rate continues, it will mean 610 thefts from postmen for all of 2023, a jump of 48% from last year’s 412. jump from last year’s total of 38,500.

DeJoy’s plan ‘to crack down on mail theft’ and ‘improve employee safety’ appalled Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) at a government and corporate accountability subcommittee hearing. Room on May 17. Raskin said the plan is “baffling to me” and “very light on proactive factor protection.” The national plan includes the installation of 12,000 high security blue mailboxes and electronic locks on 49,000 mail receptacles.

Why, Raskin asked, “did the Postal Service continue to prevent Postal Police officers from doing their job…by going to where the problem is happening?”

DeJoy replied, “I don’t have the authority to patrol the streets. And they haven’t in the past…. We do not have the legal authority to do so.

He is wrong about past practice and that is not exactly what a federal district court found about his authority.

Declaring DeJoy “grossly misinformed,” Frank Albergo, president of the Postal Police Officers Association, said via email that “PMG DeJoy is absolutely wrong when he asserted that Postal Police Officers (OPP) n ‘had not conducted carrier protection and mail theft prevention patrols’. Among other documents, he cites:

• A USPS website article from March 2012 that stated that carrier security in Chicago “means the use of Postal Police officers for street patrol.” The article cites postmen who say, “Patrols make me much more comfortable delivering mail,” and “Patrols make me feel safe,” and “It shows the Postal Service cares about my security because he’s here to check on us.

• An August 2020 directive on “communication from management” stopping street patrols, stating that “effective today, any off-property use of OPPs requires prior approval” from Deputy Chief Inspectors. The Wall Street Journal covered the directive in October with the headline, “US Postal Service Benches Police Ahead of Election.”

• A 2021 arbitral award said that “postal police were ‘constables’, with duties comparable to those of police patrolmen or sheriff’s patrolmen…. The primary duties of OPPs are very similar to the vast majority of police patrol duties. The adjudication panel found that “OPPs routinely perform police patrol officer and sheriff patrol officer duties” and were “directed to hotspots” in Chicago “where gang activity , gang retaliatory shootings, mail theft, carrier assaults, carrier robberies, flourished. .” Miami PPOs previously spent their “entire workday” on mobile patrol to protect carriers and in Newark, PPOs used mobile patrols to “meet with carriers, talk to them, make sure they’re okay in the wrong parts of the city”.

The House Postal Police Reform Act would reverse the 2020 directive and allow postal cops to once again crack down on street crimes against USPS employees “wherever they are,” Del said. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D) in a press release.

Acknowledging the past practice of postal patrols on the streets after The Washington Post questioned his courtroom statements, DeJoy said that previous activity does not permit continued unauthorized behavior.

The Postal Service, “certainly every component of our law enforcement arm,” he said via email, “must always strictly adhere to the actions it has the lawful authority to perform. Past failures to adhere to this limited authority should not be a justification for continuing to do so.

USPS spokesman David A. Partenheimer cited a federal law that states the USPS “may employ police officers for duties related to property owned or occupied by the Postal Service” and a court ruling 2020 federal lawsuit dismissing a union lawsuit over the agency’s decision to restrict its police officers. ‘jurisdiction. U.S. District Court Judge Christopher R. Cooper in Washington said the USPS “did not act unreasonably” in interpreting the law as limiting Postal Police duties “to protecting service real property.” postal”.

But Albergo underlined the remainder of that sentence in the court’s ruling that management could “leave the matter of offsite policing authority of PPOs to the discretion of the USPS,” indicating that DeJoy could deploy the postal police for street patrols if he wanted.

Still, even if he wanted to, the USPS doesn’t have enough cops for street patrols, he told Raskin.

“If I had 60,000, I would come and ask you for permission,” DeJoy said. “I don’t know. I have 600 and I don’t have the power to patrol the streets.

Albergo said the real number is 700, but the real issue is deploying them “in 20 specific geographic locations, not 700 agents spread across America…. Certain postcodes and delivery routes are targeted by criminals, most of whom are in the very locations where PPOs are actually located.

Citing the court’s decision leaving street patrols to the discretion of the USPS, Albergo’s email said, “NOTHING prevents PMG DeJoy from deploying OPPs to protect letter carriers.”


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