The U.S. Postal Inspection Service


Postal inspectors are federal law enforcement agents whose mission is to protect the U.S. Postal Service, secure the nation's mail system, and ensure public trust in the mail. They have investigative jurisdiction in all criminal matters involving the integrity and security of the mail and the Postal Service. Postal inspectors enforce more than 200 federal laws in investigations of crimes that may adversely affect or fraudulently use the mail, the postal system, or postal employees. They investigate criminal, civil, and administrative violations of postal-related laws.

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The Postal Inspection Service is instrumental in returning mail operations to normal after disasters. Inspectors Mark Viggiano and Gregory Botti are not deterred by the power outage while they examine the destruction in the Sea Bright, New Jersey, post office in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, 2012.

What It Takes to Become a Postal Inspector

Fourteen hundred inspectors work with more than five hundred additional professional and supporting staff to fulfil the service’s mission. Among the facilities supporting the service is a state-of-the-art crime lab where forensic scientists conduct fingerprint and handwriting analyses, physical evidence and chemistry examinations, and audio and video enhancements.

Postal inspectors work long and irregular hours. Competition is intense for the relatively few positions. Candidates must successfully complete all phases of the recruitment process and begin their first duty assignment prior to their 37th birthday.

These are the basic requirements to become a postal inspector:

  • Be an American citizen between the ages of 21 and 36½
  • Interested in an exciting and rewarding career in federal law enforcement
  • Possess a conferred, four-year degree from an accredited college or university
  • Have no felony or domestic violence convictions
  • Be in good physical condition
  • Write and speak English clearly
  • Be willing to relocate

Postal inspectors are required to:

  • Carry firearms
  • Make arrests
  • Provide testimony
  • Serve subpoenas
  • Execute search warrants
  • Prepare comprehensive reports