What is a Postal Inspector?

A postal inspector will investigate matters that touch on crimes within the U.S. Postal Service. It could be mail fraud from outside the agency or theft within the postal service that gets the attention of postal inspectors. They are considered law enforcement officers who prepare cases, execute warrants and detain and arrest suspects.

Duties of a Postal Inspector

A postal inspector will investigate instances of mail fraud. While first-class letters and packages are protected against search and seizure due to the 4th Amendment, if a postal inspector believes that there is a reason to open someone’s mail, they can get a search warrant. Other mail can be opened without a warrant because it’s not considered private.

Postal inspectors are required to carry a firearm because they might be in difficult situations. They’re qualified to make arrests and serve subpoenas, which can present a danger to the inspector if they have to pursue and arrest suspects.

Hiring Eligibility

There are physical as well as educational requirements for a potential postal inspector. The candidate who wishes to become a postal inspector must be at least 21 years old, have a visual examination and hearing test and have mental and emotional stability. The person must be able to comprehend verbal and written communications in English. A candidate who possesses a second language has an edge over a candidate who doesn’t.

Education Requirements

The candidate applying to become a postal inspector must have a bachelors degree from a college that is recognized as accredited by the U.S. Department of Education. The student must have maintained a grade point average of at least 3.0 to be qualified.

There are some instances where a military or law enforcement officer with years of experience might not need to have a degree. A law degree, experience with computers and a CPA degree are also qualifications that can lead to a position as a postal inspector.

Examinations for the Inspectors

After leaving school with the required bachelors degree, candidates will have to submit an online application. Once the application has been submitted, the applicant will be informed whether they move on to the next step.

When they’ve been told they are eligible, the next step is to complete the online examination, which then leads to the Electronic Comprehensive Application Packet. This packet must be completed within five days or the person is disqualified.

There are more tests and questionnaires that must be completed before the candidate is invited to attend an Information Exchange with someone in person. After the session, they are required to take more tests and examinations. It’s a rigorous process and any missteps along the way will disqualify the applicant.

Along with evaluations and tests, the person is given a polygraph examination before they’re offered conditional employment. They will still have to endure 12 weeks of training once they’re accepted.

Related Resource: What is a Crime Lab Analyst?

A postal inspector investigates instances of mail fraud as well as identity theft, according to CNN. They’ll carry firearms like other branches of law enforcement, make arrests and execute federal search warrants as part of their investigations. They can work with other law enforcement agencies like Homeland Security and local prosecutors to bring cases to the courtroom.