Watchdog report shows postal police workforce hasn’t been assessed since 2011

ORLANDO, Fla. — 9 Investigates learned the federal law enforcement agency responsible for protecting your mail hasn’t assessed its police workforce since 2011.


That means the Postal Inspection Service has been making staffing and security decisions based on outdated data, as robberies on mail carriers have soared.

We’ve told you those letter carrier robberies are all aimed at getting the keys that open large and cluster mailboxes.

In response to a watchdog report from the Government Accountability Office, postal officials said they planned to do a new security force assessment, but could not provide the time frame in which they plan to do so.

That means it’s unclear how long the outdated data will continue to be used to assign postal police.

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“It shouldn’t be where we fear coming into work,” said one postal worker named Karen, who was robbed in March. Her attack happened in broad daylight in the middle of a busy business park.

“I don’t think people realize these keys open up so many boxes,” Karen said. “They think it’s just on my route, but they open up several boxes, and it’s your information, a lot of your information, out in the hands of someone you don’t want.”

Just a few weeks after Karen was attacked, another mail carrier was robbed in Winter Park. That one was also in the middle of the day, and another arrow key was taken.

9 Investigates told you that the US Postal Service has been aware of these attacks since before the pandemic, and just-compiled numbers show the robbery cases have increased nearly sevenfold from 2019 through last year.

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“These are happening, and we can’t control it at the moment,” Karen said.

The GAO report found the US Postal Inspection Service hasn’t assessed the size or location of its postal police workforce since 2011, meaning the agency is relying on outdated data when making decisions for where postal police are stationed and their job duties.

According to the report, there is no immediate answer for when an updated assessment will be completed.

“You have a postal crimewave on your hands, and you have a postal police force. It’s not hard to put the two together,” Frank Albergo said. Albergo is the national president for the Postal Police Officers Association.

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The union has been fighting in court for the right for officers to patrol outside of post office buildings, as attacks on carriers climb.

Albergo points out the 2011 assessment still being used today had a primary goal of reducing the number of authorized postal police, but that was before the robberies were an issue.

“Law enforcement is fluid. You have to adapt. You have to change to changing circumstances. And the inspection service hasn’t done it,” Albergo said.

As of September 2023, there were only 367 postal police officers on the force, which is 37% fewer than the authorized level of 581. The Postal Inspection Service agreed with the GAO’s recommendation that a new assessment be completed, but so far, a timeline has not been announced.

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Karla Ray

Karla Ray, WFTV.com

Karla Ray anchors Eyewitness News This Morning on Saturday and Sundays, and is an investigative reporter for the 9 Investigates unit.

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