HomeCoverINTERNATIONALUSPS postal police say they're sidelined throughout time of heightened crime

USPS postal police say they’re sidelined throughout time of heightened crime

CHICAGO (WLS) — The union for postal police stated they have been as soon as 2,700 members robust. Now, there are about 400 officers who say they’re banned from patrolling streets, and relegated to defending solely postal amenities.

Chicago’s Postal Inspector in Cost stated the mission of the postal police stays the identical: defend workers, clients and property.

“In any scenario the place somebody takes one thing from you, you’re feeling violated,” retired mail provider Alvin Charleston stated.

He recalled being robbed of his mail keys on his Chicago route.

“As he approached me he stated give me your keys, and that is when he confirmed me the weapon he had,” he stated.

“So these keys. They’re referred to as arrow keys, they usually open up all blue assortment packing containers, all house panels, cluster packing containers in a given zip code,” stated Frank Albergo, president of the Postal Police Officers Affiliation.

“They’re simple targets. Carriers aren’t carrying weapons,” stated retired Postal Police Officer James Bjork.

He stated defending carriers on their routes was once a part of his job as a postal police officer.

“The officers on the day shift and afternoon shift would do letter provider safety patrols,” he stated.

That modified in 2020 when the U.S. Postal Inspection Service clarified the regulation figuring out jurisdiction for postal cops, limiting them to its service amenities, regardless that they’re sworn federal regulation enforcement officers.

“The jurisdiction stays the identical. The necessity to have them at our amenities, offering that safety facet is paramount to our general mission. So you already know, I do not suppose the jurisdiction has modified. We, we, you already know, we re-examined it, bought clarification. And now we’re centered on that,” stated Invoice Hedrick, Inspector in Cost, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Chicago.

“It might be like telling Chicago police, keep within the police station,” stated Bjork.

“What they’ve completed is shift the burden to native police departments,” stated Albergo. “Native police departments clearly produce other issues to fret about.”

The postal service has not escaped the present crime development. The president of Chicago’s letter carriers union stated a postal employee was robbed of their keys at gunpoint on Monday within the Roseland neighborhood.

An I-Workforce knowledge evaluation exhibits in 2020, the Postal Inspection Service responded to greater than 7,000 reviews nationwide of violent crimes towards postal workers. Since October, greater than 165 letter carriers, together with many within the Chicago space, have been victims of armed robberies, a major enhance since 2019.

From March 2020 to February 2021, there have been 753 postal inspection service mail fraud instances and 1,090 postal inspection service mail theft instances. The Chicago division dealt with 39 mail fraud instances throughout that very same time interval, up from 29 from the yr earlier than. As for theft instances, they dealt with 44, down from 54.

In accordance with Hinsdale Police, a person with a gun took a provider’s keys final Monday close to Stough and Hinsdale Avenue. No arrests have been made. The police report says the stolen secret’s a “collection 76 key and will open all of the mailboxes” in Oak Brook, Hinsdale, Burr Ridge and a part of Willowbrook.

Investigators say these keys promote for as a lot as $7,000.

“Any crime related to the Postal Service, our workers, or our clients that includes the mail is a precedence for us,” stated Hedrick.

“They’ve decimated our ranks by 20% since 2019,” stated Albergo.

Chicago’s Inspector in Cost saidthat’s not the case.

“The complement for Chicago has remained the identical over the past 10 years for postal cops,” Hedrick stated.

A brand new coaching class of postal cops is meant to start in August. The primary for the reason that starting of the pandemic.

“We exist to guard postal workers and the mail,” stated Albergo. “However now we’re being handcuffed to postal amenities.”

“The administration’s accountability is to make sure the protection of his workers,” stated retired mail provider Charleston.

The postal service is at the moment in contract negotiations with the union for postal police. Its members are additionally attempting to get a invoice handed in Congress to revive their jurisdictional authority, which might enable them to as soon as once more patrol exterior postal amenities.

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