Enforcing Federal Statutes
If it has anything to do with preserving the safety, security, and integrity of the nation’s mail system from criminal misuse, we do it. Our Postal Inspectors are federal law enforcement officers who carry firearms, make arrests, execute federal search warrants, and serve subpoenas. Over 1200 Inspectors enforce roughly 200 federal laws covering crimes that include fraudulent use of the U.S. Mail® and the postal system.Learn More About What We Do
Investigating Postal Crimes
Postal Inspectors investigate any crime with a nexus to the mail. These crimes include mail theft, mail fraud, financial fraud, identity theft, robberies and burglaries of postal facilities, assaults and threats on postal employees, investigations of dangerous and prohibited mails, narcotics, cybercrime and much more.
Once an investigation is underway, Postal Inspectors present the case to prosecutors from the U.S. Attorney’s Office and local prosecutors. Throughout the prosecution, Postal Inspectors and other Postal Inspection Service employees can be called to provide testimony and explain their findings, process, and conclusions.
Responding to Disasters
The Postal Inspection Service responds to emergencies, natural or man-made. Because mail is a vital utility like water or electricity, restoring mail service is essential to maintaining a sense of normalcy after a disaster. Postal Inspectors and Postal Police Officers respond to disasters by making sure postal employees are accounted for, securing damaged postal facilities and equipment, and assisting the Postal Service with temporary mail distribution plans.
In the rare case of a suspicious package, specially trained Postal Inspectors are deployed to secure the package and protect mail facilities, employees, and customers. Investigations of suspicious mail are unusual and complex cases. Postal Inspectors tirelessly investigate such crimes until the cases are closed.
The Postal Inspection Service is one of the few federal law enforcement agencies that promotes crime prevention. An important element of the Postal Inspection Service’s crime prevention efforts is informing and educating consumers, especially older Americans, about mail fraud. Postal Inspectors have found that educating people through fraud prevention campaigns and the media is the best way to prevent them from being scammed.
The security part of the Postal Inspection Service’s mission means ensuring postal employees, customers, and over 32,000 postal facilities are safe from criminal attack. Our security force of armed, uniformed Postal Police® Officers is assigned to provide physical security and protect critical postal facilities. Our security specialists analyze risks at postal facilities and implement solutions to minimize risks to employees and facilities. Additionally, Postal Inspectors provide enhanced security for mail services at major political, cultural, and sporting events.
High-value deliveries often require the special skills of the Postal Inspection Service. From planning to overseeing security, the Postal Inspection Service has ensured the safe delivery of moving all the nation’s gold to Fort Knox and the Hope Diamond to the Smithsonian.
Collecting and Analyzing Evidence
The Postal Inspection Service maintains a world-class crime laboratory where forensic scientists conduct examinations on questioned documents; analyze fingerprints, narcotics and physical evidence; and provide digital evidence support. Postal Inspectors often rely on the expertise of forensic analysts stationed at the National Forensic Laboratory Services to solve mail-related crimes. These highly skilled forensic scientists, forensic chemists, latent print analysts, and forensic computer analysts play a key role in identifying, apprehending, prosecuting, and convicting individuals responsible for mail-related crimes.See How We're Fighting the Opioid Epidemic
Partnering Against Crime
Postal Inspectors partner with other federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies, as well as foreign agencies to investigate mail-related crimes. These partnerships and task forces have helped Postal Inspectors dismantle drug and human trafficking networks, extradite foreign criminals, and prevent possible acts of terrorism.