Trump Administration moves to stop USPS Police from protecting mail-in ballots

Careful readers and critical thinkers will note that this story from Politico actually makes no mention of mail-in voting or the November elections. The silence is deafening.

As always when I reprint news stories from other sources, the story is printed verbatim.

Tumalo Lookout comments follow below the story.


From Politico:

POSTAL SERVICE

Postal police union sues USPS, DeJoy over limits to mail theft enforcement authority

The union argues that this unilateral change by USPS managers violates their collective bargaining agreement

By KYLE CHENEY

09/14/2020 03:38 PM EDT

Updated: 09/14/2020 06:45 PM EDT

The Postal Service last month abruptly ordered its police officers to stop investigating mail theft that occurs away from post office property, the Postal Police Officers Association alleged Monday, suing Postmaster General Louis DeJoy to block a change they say could erode the safety of mail carriers and delivery.

“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 association said in its lawsuit, filed in federal district court in Washington D.C.

Per the union, USPS implemented the change on Aug. 25, a day after DeJoy testified to Congress amid mounting concerns that policy changes he implemented were delaying mail service and could jeopardize record numbers of mail-in ballots expected in the presidential election.

Per the court filing, the USPS leader “declared that Postal Police Officers should no longer be assigned to investigate or prevent mail theft or protection of letter carriers” unless it occurred on Postal Service premises.

This would be a sharp break, the union alleges, from decades-old practices.

“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,” the association notes. “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.”

The union argues that this unilateral change by USPS managers violates the collective bargaining agreement with the Postal Police Officers Association. The union is asking a judge to block the policy change pending arbitration and to declare that USPS leaders acted outside of their statutory authority.

USPS declined to weigh in on the specifics of the suit, citing its general posture not to comment on pending litigation. “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.

The Postal Police have operated since 1971 as the uniformed division of the Postal Inspection Service, charged with protecting U.S. mail. There are about 500 postal police officers, a number that has dropped sharply over the years, compared to about 1,200 postal inspectors, according to Arlus Stephens, an attorney for the PPOA. Per the association’s suit, inspectors are increasingly taking on the responsibility of the postal police officers, but because they typically work regular business hours — compared to the officers’ 24/7 shifts — “their off-site mobile patrols are going undone,” the union alleges.

“Because of this abrupt policy change, in many places, the U.S. mail and postal personnel are receiving less protection,” the suit argues.

Per the lawsuit, a senior Postal Service Deputy Chief Inspector Craig Goldberg first raised the notion that postal police officers may not be legally permitted to exercise law enforcement authority away from USPS real estate in February. But the union said the agency “routinely” continued to send out postal police to investigate matters off of USPS property.

But that changed last month when Deputy Chief Inspector David Bowers issued an Aug. 25 “National Communication to all Inspection Service Divisions.”

“According to Bowers, Postal Police Officers no longer had any law-enforcement authority, whatsoever, except when they are physically stationed on real estate owned or leased by the Postal Service,” the union described. “Accordingly, Bowers directed that PPOs immediately cease and desist from any and all law-enforcement activity except within postal facilities.”


USPS Postal Police investigate the robbery of a letter carrier in Franklin Park, FL in 2017. Source: WPLG Local 10 News.

From The Tumalo Lookout

The trump administration and the repugnant party have long fought any efforts to make voting easier for American citizens.

For the past year, trump himself has engaged in heavy propaganda warfare against mail-in voting. By September 11, he had publicly invented or repeated more than 100 false claims and lies about voting by mail.

That a president of the United States would use the power of his position to foster and promote misinformation, disinformation, and fear inarguably constitutes an extraordinary example of official government propaganda in the United States.

More extraordinary, and more dangerous to democracy, is the president’s propaganda attacks against his own administration to advance his private agenda of political gain and vengeance against a major news organization, The Washington Post.

Perhaps most extraordinary is a president’s concerted and persistent attacks against three of the most critical pieces of American Democracy — three pieces of our society protected by the American Constitution: voting, the post office, and the press.

Others might argue that the most extraordinary thing about all of this is the quiet ambivalence or open belief in trump’s propaganda, by some 45 percent of the American electorate.

Not me. It doesn’t surprise me in the least.

Because that’s Homo vorsutus.

p.s.

It does not escape my notice that it’s a police union lawsuit that brings the Politico story to public light.

Aren’t I prejudiced against cop unions? Yep.

Am I conveniently ignoring their involvement in all of this to support my opinions? Not at all.

Cop culture is mostly about good people doing and thinking positive things. Here at The Tumalo Lookout, I focus on problems in cop culture — but a basic principle of critical thinking is to give credit where credit is due.

To my mind as an anthropologist, there’s nothing simple or black and white about culture. And that means that I try always to see the good as well as the bad in cop culture.

Even if I emphasize problems, I still want cops to succeed, and I still support them.

I’m like a stern parent: I only do this because I care.

Credit: US Postal Service

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