DAYTON — The head of the U.S. Postal Police Association is talking to the I-Team about a key decision in a fight between the union and the postal service.
The United States Postal Service has the power to protect its letter carriers while on their routes, but told the I-Team they won’t reassign their postal police officers back the streets to do it. Its an assignment they were taken off of in the fall of 2020.
Since then, attacks on letter carriers have been on the rise across the country, including in the Miami Valley. Robbers have been taking arrow keys, or the master key to all the big blue mailboxes.
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Frank Albergo, the head of the Postal Police Officers Association, told the I-Team that the union filed a grievance challenging the 2020 decision limiting their patrol powers and has waited two years for a decision. Wednesday, an arbitrator sided with the union.
As the I-Team’s John Bedell was talking to Albergo Thursday, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service sent a statement confirming they wouldn’t be changing the policy.
In the statement, a spokesperson for the Postal Inspection Service said:
“While the Postal Service disagrees with the decision, it is important to note that the arbitrator found only that the Inspection Service must follow certain procedural notice requirements before making changes to handbooks, manuals, or regulations. Significantly, the arbitrator made no judgment about the statutory law enforcement authority of Postal Police Officers and expressed no opinion about whether the Inspection Service could limit such authority to postal premises only. Further, the arbitrator made it patently clear that nothing in the award should be construed to indicate that the Inspection Service is required to deploy Postal Police Officers anywhere outside of Postal Service controlled property. The Postal Service is reviewing our legal options and will continue to utilize our personnel and resources consistent with the appropriate statutory authority, including the relevant limitations.”
“This is so simple. You have police officers, use them. You have carriers being robbed. They’re having guns stuck in their face. It’s just a matter of time before somebody gets seriously hurt. And they just refuse to use post office police officers. It’s almost as if they painted themselves in a corner and now they don’t want to look stupid, so they’re going to just say whatever they have to say to prove themselves right. I mean, it’s an incredible, they are maniacs, to be honest,” Albergo said after being read the statement.
He also told the I-Team that the Postal Police Union is considering taking the Postal Inspection Service to court over their decision.
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After the arbitrator’s decision was announced, the I-Team reached out to Senator Sherrod Brown to get his reaction. His office said in a statement that Brown believes patrols should be reinstated.
“This week, an arbitrator confirmed that Postal Police Officers are not restricted to protecting postal property, and Sen. Brown is urging Postmaster General DeJoy to immediately restore patrolling functions to PPOs to prevent crime and to protect carriers and the mail that Ohioans rely on. DeJoy’s 2020 decision to stop PPOs from patrolling postal carrier routes - something they had been doing for 50 years - continues to result in increased mail carrier robberies throughout Ohio. Last November, Brown called for DeJoy’s resignation due to ongoing mail thefts and delays in Ohio,” the statement read.
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