Postal Police Officers (PPOs) are a crucial part of the Inspection Service team. Stationed in critical postal facilities across the nation, they stand on the frontlines in the fight to protect postal employees, customers, and property.
The U.S. Postal Security Force includes uniformed bargaining-unit Postal Police Officers (PPOs) and non-bargaining supervisory and managerial Postal Police personnel. Security Force operations are under the administrative control of the United States Postal Inspection Service (USPIS), the law enforcement and security arm of the U.S. Postal Service.
PPOs are represented by a union, the Postal Police Officers Association. The PPOA collectively bargains with the U.S. Postal Service over hours, wages, and working conditions for PPOs.
In connection with property owned, occupied, or controlled by the Postal Service, enforces Postal Service regulations and applicable Federal laws for the protection of persons and property, consistent with statutory and regulatory authority, and ensures safety and security of personnel, customers, property, and mail.
Carries a firearm and other law enforcement equipment while on duty; uses reasonable force when necessary.
Maintains a log of all incidents reported and completes reports as needed.
Performs patrol duty, as assigned, on foot or by motor vehicle within jurisdictional authority in connection with property owned or occupied by the Postal Service.
Responds to emergency situations on property owned or occupied by the Postal Service (e.g., burglaries, robberies, natural disasters, medical emergencies); assists with evacuating employees in the facility during emergencies and drills.
Property Access Control
Controls access to property owned or occupied by the Postal Service including direction of vehicle traffic.
Enforces the regulations for conduct on Postal Service property, and, where authorized, writes citations for violations of these regulations; ensures compliance with security and, safety policies and procedures.
Makes arrests in accordance with jurisdictional authority.
Testifies in court proceedings or at administrative hearings.
Makes contact with postal managers and other employees to enhance Postal Inspection Service crime prevention and security efforts.
Reports threats against employees and security breaches to Inspectors; acts as a visible deterrent to criminal attack.
Conducts preliminary fact finding in connection with emergency response; reports preliminary fact findings to appropriate authority for any necessary investigation.
Active Shooter Response
Utilizes accepted law enforcement tactics to respond to active shooter incidents on property owned or occupied by the Postal Service.
Performs other job related tasks in support of the primary duties.
For current postal employees being reassigned to a PPO position (internal hire), the salary range is $34,038 to $58,140. Internal applicants will be provided their new salary calculation in the conditional job offer letter. The starting salary for PPOs hired from a public vacancy posting (external hire) is $34,038.
PPOs are eligible for overtime pay, night shift differential and Sunday premium pay.
Career Bargaining Employee Benefits
In addition to the Uniform Allowance and Retirement benefits, the Postal Service offers the following benefits to internal and external applicants: Health Insurance, Dental and Vision Insurance, Flexible Spending Accounts, Life Insurance, Long Term Care Insurance, Thrift Savings Plan, Social Security & Medicare, Leave (annual vacation & sick), Holidays, Commuter Program, Employee Assistance Program, and Career Development & Training. A Fact Sheet which provides basic information and eligibility for each benefit can be found on the following Blue Page link.
PPOs are authorized a uniform allowance. If an internal applicant is currently enrolled in a uniform program in another craft, he or she should not use that account within the preceding 90-days of being reassigned as a PPO or any allowance money spent would be deducted from the first year PPO uniform allowance.
PPOs are covered by the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS). There is no mandatory retirement age for PPOs. Though PPOs do have limited law enforcement authority, PPOs are not entitled to accelerated law enforcement officer retirement benefits.
Postal Police personnel are assigned to one of three tours at their assigned facility. PPOs may be required to work weekends and holidays and may be required to work overtime as needed.
PPOs have no off-duty law enforcement authority but are deemed “emergency employees,” that is, they perform essential agency functions that cannot be interrupted, even when buildings are closed for hazardous weather or other emergencies. They must report to work even when the general employee population is excused for all or part of a workday. Postal Police personnel are expected to perform their duties and responsibilities during emergency conditions (e.g., natural disasters, civil disorders, blizzards, or floods).
PPOs may be called upon, in the performance of their official duties, to de-escalate potentially violent situations. They may also be required to intercede in physical assaults and effect arrests of individuals involved in the violation of law or postal regulations on Postal Service property.
PPOs are expected to meet the highest standards of job performance, attendance, and conduct. PPOs are subject to corrective action including removal should they not maintain those standards. While under consideration for employment as Postal Police Officer, all candidates are required to notify the Postal Inspection Service Recruiter of the following:
• Any interaction or contact with any law enforcement official. This includes but is not limited to: reports that are matter of record, citations, traffic stops, tickets, arrests, interviews, requests for information, etc.;
• Involvement in any incident that has the potential to result in disciplinary action being brought against the candidate.
Notification must be made in a timely manner and prior to reporting to PPOBT, if offered a position.
Physical Examination and Drug Screening
To ensure PPO candidates are qualified to perform PPO duties safely and efficiently without undue risk to themselves or others, they must pass a pre-employment physical examination and drug screening at Postal Service expense. PPO candidates are required to be drug free as a condition of entry into the Inspection Service. Those who are hired as PPOs will be subject to random drug testing and must remain drug free as a condition of continued employment throughout their career.
Background Investigation (High Risk BI)
PPO candidates must be favorably adjudicated at the Background Investigation – High Risk (BI) level to be suitable for employment as a PPO. To adjudicate at the BI level, an extensive background investigation will be conducted. The investigation will include a review of the candidates work and school history, a driving record and criminal background check, fingerprint check, a credit history review, etc. Investigators will also meet with the candidate and interview their personal references. PPOs must maintain the BI background investigation level throughout their careers.
Postal Police Officer Basic Training
Once reassigned or appointed to a Postal Police Officer position, new PPOs must successfully complete Postal Police Officer Basic Training (PPOBT) as a condition of continued employment.
Those who successfully complete PPOBT will continue as a PPO and be reassigned to a facility in the Inspection Service Division where they were selected.
All PPOs are required to carry an agency-authorized firearm while on duty. As a condition of their continued employment, PPOs must pass a firearm qualification course semiannually with their authorized handgun and the 12-gauge shotgun.
Postal Police Officer Basic Training is a 12-week in-residence training program located at the W.F. Bolger Center for Leadership Development in Potomac, Maryland, and is administered by the Career Development Unit of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. Training will be held eight hours per day, Monday through Friday (and may include weekends and overtime as needed). Accommodations and meals will be provided by the Postal Service in accordance with policy. The course schedule allows adequate study time to prepare for examinations. During the 12-week training program, three trips home will be provided by the agency consistent with Employee & Labor Relations Manual (ELM) Section 716.121.
The primary purpose of PPOBT is to acquaint PPOs in basic training with basic knowledge and skills required of a Postal Police Officer. Training is delivered through classroom lecture and the demonstration and practice of physical techniques. Academic topics include, but are not limited to, the legal authority of PPOs; use of force; laws governing search and seizure; etc. Firearms training includes the instruction in the safe use and care of agency-issued weapons. Every PPO in basic training must pass a qualifications course with their authorized firearms. Failure to qualify will result in termination.
PPOs in basic training will be trained in various defensive tactics and officer survival techniques to include, but not limited to, defensive strikes and kicks, the use of an expandable baton, handcuffing techniques, burglary response, and tactical building entry. Student officers will also be trained in emergency response to include First Aid and Basic Life Support.
To successfully complete the course, student-officers must pass a comprehensive written exam; demonstrate proficiency in defensive tactics and officer survival techniques; achieve the agency standards for basic training firearms proficiency; and be certified in First Aid and Basic Life Support in accordance with Inspection Service standards. Should a student fail the comprehensive written exam on the first attempt, a remedial exam will be administered after the student is given a review of course subject matter. Failing the remedial exam constitutes failure of the course and will result in termination from the program and may result in separation from the Postal Service.
Upon the successful completion of PPOBT, the new officer begins a probationary period of one hundred and eighty (180) calendar days. The probationary period shall be extended by one day for each work day the PPO is absent due to illness, injury, or other causes (with the exception of military service consonant with federal law).
In accordance with the collective bargaining agreement, the Postal Service has the right to separate a probationary employee at any time during the probationary period and the probationary PPO is not entitled to the grievance procedure to appeal separation.
PPO students who were previously Postal Service employees (bargaining or nonbargaining) and do not successfully complete PPOBT for any reason, including resignation, will be provided a 30-day notice period. They will remain on the rolls in a non-pay, non-duty status. They may however, use annual leave. They may use that time to locate another position in the Postal Service. There is no guarantee that a position will be available. It is the PPO student’s responsibility to find another position.
If not successful in obtaining another position within this 30-day period, the PPO student will be separated from the U.S. Postal Service. If they held a bargaining unit position in any craft before entering the PPOBT, they might not be able to return to that or any craft position. If they held a non-bargaining position prior to beginning PPOBT, they do not have a right to return to that position, even if the position has not been filled. If reassigned into a new position, they will be paid in accordance with the ELM Chapter 4, which governs Postal pay policy. Contact the local Human Resources office with any questions.
PPO candidates who were hired externally from the public and do not successfully complete PPOBT for any reason, will be terminated from the Postal Service.
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