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USPS Awards Contract for Security Guard Services-(6/24/04)

Audit Report of Postal Inspection Service's Postal Police Officers-The report presents results of an audit in response to a request by members of Congress to review the Postal Service's decision to eliminate postal police officers at six USPS facilities. 
Press Release  
September 12, 2003  
WASHINGTON - A group of Connecticut and Washington state lawmakers, in an ongoing exchange with Postmaster General John Potter, are expressing discontent with the U.S. Postal Inspection Service's decision to terminate the use of armed security officers at six major facilities, including ones in Hartford and Seattle, despite serious questions the lawmakers raised regarding the decision.

“We are extremely disappointed that you did not directly respond to our specific request that you suspend the proposed terminations until a complete assessment is done of Postal Service security requirements,” wrote the lawmakers in their second letter to Postmaster General John Potter on this issue, “While your response did provide additional documentation we requested, as discussed briefly below, that information raises even more questions concerning the process used by the Postal Service to justify these terminations.”

The lawmakers also sent a letter to Inspector General David C. Williams Wednesday, requesting that he conduct an audit of the Postal Service to determine whether USPS is implementing sufficient security measures to protect employees and customers.

In the letter to Williams, the lawmakers wrote: “We are concerned that the decision to remove postal police from these locations is not supported by 1997 and 2001 assessments of the security needs of these facilities and that the USPS’ plans to substitute contract security personnel and physical security measures for the presence of postal police does not adequately safeguard postal employees, customers or the assets of the USPS.”

“I am concerned that this decision could put the safety and security of Connecticut’s mail system in jeopardy,” said Dodd. “The anthrax attacks and the tragic loss of life of postal workers were harsh reminders of the need to ensure the safety and preparedness of our postal facilities. We must give these workers the tools they need to protect themselves and prevent future attacks on our mail system.”

“After reading the Postmaster General’s response to our first letter, I am more concerned, not less, that the decision to terminate these positions compromises the security of postal workers and customers,” said Senator Joe Lieberman, D-Conn., “These hard-working officers provide vital security to postal workers, visitors, and the mail, and have the ability to respond immediately to any threats or other incidents. They and their jobs are too important to be dismissed or relocated before a fair and unbiased assessment of the facilities they protect is finished.”

“Given the new environment that exists and the potential threats we face, we must ensure the security of federal facilities,” said Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash. “Removing trained security officers from post offices does not appear to make these sites safer.”

“At this critical time when new reports indicate there might be future terrorist attacks on United States soil, we should not be reducing the number of law enforcement personnel at our nation’s post offices,” said Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash.

"In light of the continuing terrorist threat, I find it hard to understand why the postal service seems to be the only agency eliminating security,” said Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn.

"The decision to remove postal police from these locations is misguided, and appears to have been made without regard for the security needs of the facilities, postal employees and visitors," said Rep. John Larson, D-Conn.


Senator Joseph Lieberman letter to Postal Inspector General

September 9, 2003

David C. Williams

Inspector General

United States Postal Service

1735 N. Lynn Street

Arlington, VA 22209-2020

Dear Mr. Williams:

We are writing to ask you to review the decision of the United States Postal Service (USPS) to eliminate the presence of Postal Police Officers at 6 postal facilities, including ones in Hartford, Connecticut and Seattle, Washington. Based on information provided by USPS and the United States Postal Inspection Service (USPIS), we are concerned that the decision to remove postal police from these locations is not supported by 1997 and 2001 assessments of the security needs of these facilities and that the USPS’ plans to substitute contract security personnel and physical security measures for the presence of postal police does not adequately safeguard postal employees, customers or the assets of the USPS. Therefore, we request that you conduct an audit of USPS security needs at postal facilities to determine what security measures are required and whether USPS is implementing a plan that will meet those needs.

Information has been provided to us by the USPS and the USPIS in response to our inquiries into the basis on which the decision was made to eliminate postal police at these locations. This documentation raises concerns about the information on which USPS and USPIS relied to move forward with the proposed postal police terminations. For example, these materials include information that appears to support the continued presence of postal police at these facilities, particularly those like Hartford which are located in high crime neighborhoods.

In addition, this documentation indicates that there may be weaknesses in the USPS plan to utilize physical security measures, such as electronic access control devices, as alternatives to the presence of security personnel. It also appears that facilities which have previously undergone the removal of this security force have not received adequate replacement security measures.

Finally, the most current assessments of the 6 facilities on which USPS relied may not include adequate information regarding such key issues as the deterrent effect of the postal police presence on potential criminal incidents, the number of incidents postal police respond to at these facilities, and the capability of already burdened local police to respond to emergencies at these locations.

The USPS and USPIS have stated that some of the documents they provided in response to our requests contain sensitive security information. For this reason, we are not providing this material to you directly; however, we will inform the Postmaster General that you will be requesting a copy of all the documents previously provided to us. We ask that you review these materials, and other information which may be available to you, to determine whether they support the USPS actions to remove postal police from these 6 locations (and others in the past).

If you encounter any problems in obtaining the relevant documents from the USPS, please contact us or our staff. We appreciate your assistance with this matter. Please feel free to contact Susan Propper of Senator Lieberman’s staff at (202) 224-6599 if you have any questions.


_______________________        ________________________

Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman                        Sen. Christopher J. Dodd

________________________                ________________________

Sen. Maria Cantwell Sen.                        Patty Murray

________________________             ________________________

Rep. Rosa De Lauro                              Rep. John B. Larson


cc: John E. Potter, Postmaster General

Lee R. Heath, Chief Postal Inspector


 Fraternal Order of Police   letterletter





Tammy Michelson

National Secretary-Treasurer

(310) 910-3847

FAX (603) 308-7660


Despite Increased Risk, Postal Service to Eliminate Police in Six Cities

In a letter dated June 12, 2003, U.S. Postal Service Labor Relations Manager Doug A. Tulino notified the U.S. Postal Police Officer’s union of plans to close police operations in the following six cities: Birmingham, AL; Buffalo, NY; Denver, CO; Hartford, CT; Jacksonville, FL; Seattle, WA. Despite increased terrorist threats targeted at government property and employees; and despite the Anthrax attacks of 2001, Tulino said the reason for the closures is that a review has shown the presence of armed postal police is no longer warranted at these facilities.

In December 2002, the U.S. General Accounting Office submitted a report to Congress which stated U.S. Postal Service deposits totaling $65 billion a year are vulnerable to theft, robbery and mishandling because of inadequate security and failure to follow procedures. The report was initiated after a 28-year Postal Service employee, walked out of a non-police controlled Phoenix mail facility with $3.2 million in June 2001. The suspect was later spotted hundreds of miles away by a Seattle Postal Police Officer. The suspect was subsequently convicted and sentenced to three years and five months in prison. About $1.7 million in cash was recovered. In January 2003, the GAO put Postal Service real property on its "high risk" list.

Most large postal facilities have no police protection at all, despite the fact that a large volume of cash and valuables are routinely processed through them. Even after the horrible events of 9/11, the Postal Inspection Service has emphasized their "plain-clothes" investigative mission over patrol, prevention, and protection. In September of 2000, there were 1300 uniformed Postal Police nationwide. It is projected that the number will drop to approximately 975 officers in September 2003. Three Postal Police training classes have been cancelled this year alone while heavy recruiting efforts continue for new-hire inspectors.

Postal Police Officers are a highly trained, armed, visible deterrent. Training begins at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Georgia, and continues with training and skills qualification throughout their careers. According to the Congressional Record, Congressman Bill Lipinski recently stated, "Postal Police Officers are first responders in this unprecedented Front Line on the War on Terror--the U.S. mail system."

According to the notification letter, postal operations are to continue in the six affected cities, but all U.S. Postal Police and management assignments will be abolished. The Fraternal Order of Police, National Labor Council, USPS No. 2 is the sole collective bargaining unit for U.S. Postal Police--the only unionized employees of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. The U.S. Postal Inspection Service is the primary law enforcement branch of the USPS. Representatives of the FOP-NLC #2 are scheduled to meet with USPIS representatives in Washington, D.C. on June 19.


Washington state Senators Protest Postal Police Cuts-


letter dated 7/25/03 to PMG Potter from Members  of Congress