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The list: 5 facts about the Postal Inspection Service

Two postal inspectors examine a workroom
The Postal Inspection Service works to protect USPS employees, facilities and the U.S. Mail.

The Postal Inspection Service marked its 243rd birthday last week. Here are five facts about the organization and its employees.

1. The Inspection Service is one of the nation’s oldest law enforcement agencies. The organization traces its roots to Aug. 7, 1775, the earliest recorded date that William Goddard served as the first surveyor of post roads. Today, the Inspection Service works to ensure the sanctity of the U.S. Mail and the safety of postal employees.

2. The organization is nationwide. The Inspection Service has more than 2,400 employees and 17 divisions throughout the United States. In addition to a national forensic laboratory in Dulles, VA — more on that later — the agency has a training facility in Potomac, MD.

3. Postal inspectors are federal officers. Inspectors carry firearms, make arrests, execute search warrants and serve subpoenas. They also work with U.S attorneys, other law enforcement agencies and local prosecutors to investigate cases.

4. The Inspection Service has its own police force. Uniformed Postal Police officers are assigned to critical postal facilities throughout the nation. These officers provide perimeter security, escort high-value shipments and perform other protective duties.

5. The Inspection Service’s national lab is state of the art. The scientists and specialists who work in the Dulles lab use forensic analysis to solve mail crimes. There are also 18 digital evidence labs where computer forensics work is performed.

The Postal Inspection Service site and the National Postal Museum site’s site’s “Behind the Badge” section have more information. Got ideas for future editions of “The list”? Email them to

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