The Postal Police Officers Association is suing the United States Postal Service and Postmaster General Louis DeJoy for abruptly ordering its police officers to stop investigating mail theft that takes place away from post office property.
USPS implemented the new way of investigating that took effect on August 25th, one day after DeJoy testified to Congress in response to concerns that his policy changes could jeopardize the delivery of presidential mail-in ballots. Now, the Union is asking that a judge block the policy change pending arbitration and to declare that USPS leaders acted outside of their statutory authority when they changed the mail theft policy.
“The Postal Service’s sudden change is unwarranted, impermissible, and contrary to the language of the statute and also to collective bargaining promises it has made to the officers’ union,” the lawsuit states.
The Union says that Postal Police Officers have made numerous arrests off of postal service premises and have been vital in taking down criminals in conjunction with other police agencies.
“Postal Police Officers have arrested countless individuals for all manner of crimes away from postal real estate, either by themselves or in concert with other agents. Those officers were often tasked with conducting searches and seizures of arrested individuals, with the evidence obtained used to help secure criminal convictions and imprisonment for some of those arrested.”
USPS declined to get into the suit’s specifics, citing its general stance of not commenting on pending legal matters. “However, we would like to point out that the underlying factual and legal issues raised in this complaint arose well before Louis DeJoy began his service as the Postmaster-General,” said spokesman David Partenheimer.
With the presidential elections right around the corner, banning the Postal Police from investigating offsite mail theft could jeopardize mail-in votes in the event that they are stolen.