Page updated 8/18/2019
Explore postal inspector jobs and careers. Postal Inspectors investigate suspected criminal activities that involves the security and integrity of the US Postal Service. There are approximately 4,000 postal inspectors, support staff, evidence technicians, and uniformed postal police officers to ensure the safety of postal employees, the general public, and postal system. The inspection service investigates and enforces hundreds of laws covering crimes that may adversely affect the mail, and provides protection against things like identity theft and consumer fraud. The Chief Postal Inspector is the head of the Postal Inspection Service and reports directly to the Postmaster General.
Inspectors carry firearms, make arrests, testify in court, serve subpoenas, and write comprehensive reports. It is a demanding position, often requiring frequent and extended travel and absences from home. Postal Inspectors may work under hazardous conditions, have irregular work hours, and be assigned anywhere in the country.
Benjamin Franklin founded the United States Postal Service, one of the oldest federal law enforcement agencies. The Postal Inspection Service has extensive history of fighting criminals who attack our nation’s postal system and misuse it to defraud, endanger or otherwise threaten the American public. As the primary law enforcement arm of the Postal Service, the Postal Inspection Service is a highly specialized, professional organization performing investigative and security functions essential to a stable and sound postal system.
Congress empowered the Postal Service “to investigate postal offenses and civil matters relating to the Postal Service.” Through its security and enforcement functions, the Postal Inspection Service provides assurance to American businesses for the safe exchange of funds and securities through the U.S. mail; to postal customers of the “sanctity of the seal” in transmitting correspondence and messages; and to postal employees of a safe work environment.
As fact-finding and investigative agents, postal inspectors are federal law enforcement officers who carry firearms, make arrests and serve federal search warrants and subpoenas. Inspectors work closely with U.S. Attorneys, other law enforcement agencies and local prosecutors to investigate postal cases and prepare them for court. There are approximately 1,750 postal inspectors stationed through-out the United States, covering investigations of crimes that adversely affect or fraudulently use the postal system.
To assist in carrying out its responsibilities, the Postal Inspection Service maintains a security force staffed by 830 uniformed postal police officers who are assigned to critical postal facilities throughout the country. The officers provide perimeter security, escort high-value mail shipments and perform other essential protective functions.
The Postal Inspection Service operates five forensic crime laboratories, strategically located in cities across the country. The labs are staffed with forensic scientists and technical specialists, who assist inspectors in analyzing evidentiary material needed for identifying and tracing criminal suspects and in providing expert testimony for cases brought to trial.
The U.S. Postal Inspection Service can recruit college graduates with no previous work experience for opened Postal Inspector jobs. If you do not meet one of the special requirements in the Application for U.S. Postal Inspector, but have a conferred, four-year college degree with a minimum GPA of 3.0, or an advanced degree, you may apply to become a Postal Inspector. To apply, submit Form 168, Application for U.S. Postal Inspector, along with a copy of your college transcript.
Federal law enforcement agents in the GS-1811, Criminal Investigating Series, may apply through an expedited recruitment process by submitting a copy of a current SF 50, Notification of Personnel Action, with their application. If the applicant has Top Secret clearance, the process may be further expedited by including a letter from their agency's Security Control Officer certifying the clearance, the date it was originally issued and any updates, as well as copies of SF 86, Questionnaire for National Security Positions, for the original clearance and any updates.
Postal Inspectors web sites -
You should also investigate related Federal Law Enforcement Agents in the GS-1811, Criminal Investigating Series. These federal government investigators perform related services and if you qualify for a Postal Inspector Position you will generally meet the requirements for the civil service GS-1811 positions.
U.S. postal inspectors are federal law enforcement officers. Postal inspectors have investigative jurisdiction in all criminal matters involving the integrity and security of the Postal Service.
Postal inspectors investigate criminal, civil, and administrative violations of postal laws and are responsible for protecting the revenue and assets of the Postal Service. Inspectors are required to carry firearms, make arrests, testify in court, serve subpoenas, and write comprehensive reports. They must operate motor vehicles and may undergo moderate to arduous physical exertion under unusual environmental conditions. It is essential that inspectors be in sound physical condition and be capable of performing vigorous physical activities on a sustained basis. The activities may require inspectors to perform the following: climb ladders; work long and irregular hours; occupy cramped or crowded spaces for extended periods of time; exert physical force in the arrest, search, pursuit, and restraint of another person; and protect themselves and others from imminent danger.
The duties of the position require the ability to communicate with people from all walks of life, be proficient with firearms, have skills in self-defense, and have the ability to exercise good judgment. Inspectors may be relocated according to the needs of the service.
The recruitment process is extremely thorough, and there is intense competition for relatively few positions. The recruitment and selection process must be completed prior to the applicant’s 37th birthday.
This position is exempt from the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and does not qualify for overtime compensation. Postal inspector salaries are based on the Inspection Service Law Enforcement (ISLE) pay system. The ISLE pay grades and steps correspond to the General Schedule (GS) pay scale for law enforcement officers.
Visit the postal service's Postal Inspection web site for additional information. These positions are covered in the book titled Post Office Jobs by Dennis V. Damp. You will find general standards, application information and Service Division office contact numbers. You can also visit your local Library's Reference Department to review this informative book or order a copy on-line.