The Postal Inspection Service, the nation’s oldest law enforcement agency, wants to know the truth.
To that end, it has polygraphers within its ranks to test prospective agents, accused criminals and even alleged victims for veracity through lie-detector testing.
“This is a calling,” said Delany de Leon-Colon, inspector in charge. “It’s a job not everybody can do. You have to have the character to do this type of job.”
There are three polygraphers — “three superheroes,” in de Leon-Colon’s words — who work for the Inspection Service.
Darshelle “DD” Thombs is one of them. She is the first African American woman to hold the job.
“Being African American and female, she has blazed a path for others to come behind her,” de Leon-Colon said.
Without knowing this would one day be her job, Thombs built a firm foundation for a polygraphy career.
She earned master’s and bachelor’s degrees in criminal justice from the University of New Haven in Connecticut and Virginia Union University in Richmond, respectively.
She began her law enforcement career in 2005 as a police officer in Chesterfield County, VA.
There, she was promoted to master detective and selected to study polygraphy at the Virginia School of Polygraph in 2013.
Thombs joined the Inspection Service in 2014 and was assigned to the mail theft team.
She then moved to the contraband interdiction and investigation unit, and then transferred to the mail theft, external crimes and security team in 2018. After being chosen to study polygraphy at the National Center for Credibility Assessment, she was promoted to program manager in 2022.
“I enjoy every aspect of the position,” Thombs said, including the large amount of travel the job requires.
“Traveling affords me the opportunity to meet and interact with others within the organization I otherwise wouldn’t cross paths with.”
For those who might be considering polygraphy, she advises: “Have a four-year degree, have excellent interpersonal and communication skills, and research the position and its requirements.”
Said de Leon-Colon: “When I think about what a postal inspector should be, I think of DD.”