May 1, 2014 – (This article appears in the May-June 2014 issue of The American Postal Worker magazine.)
Mike Gallagher, Eastern Regional Coordinator
There has been a rash of armed robberies of retail clerks recently in the Eastern Region, including a number of situations where clerks were confronted while having guns pointed at them. In another case, the perpetrator claimed he had a bomb. And readers have probably heard the sad news about a Letter Carrier who was robbed and murdered in Landover, MD in November and another who was beaten, tied up, and robbed in February.
The Postal Service has a responsibility to ensure a safe and secure environment for USPS employees. To meet that responsibility, the Inspection Service performs a risk analysis of each office and decides whether “baseline” or “high security” is needed. If the office is located in a low-crime area, baseline security is implemented; in medium-to high-crime areas, high security comes into play.
After developing a site-risk profile, depending on its analysis, the Inspection Service approves appropriate security-related systems, such as a closed circuit television system, access control system, bullet-resistant screen line, and burglar and duress alarms. The security measures are intended to protect employees during a robbery and to act as a deterrent to would-be robbers.
The Inspection Service provides the results of its analysis in writing to local management.
Local officers or stewards can request the risk analysis from local management and ensure the appropriate level of security equipment has been installed.
On a cautionary note, keep an eye out for suspicious strangers; make sure all doors leading to lobbies and the box area are locked; ensure that all employees are trained on the security features of your office, and make sure all security equipment is in proper working order. In case of a robbery, comply with the robber’s demands to help ensure your own safety and the safety of your co-workers.
After a robbery, the Inspection Service will want to know specifics of the incident, including a description of the perpetrator, the weapon involved, words spoken, the getaway method, etc., so try to remember as many details as possible.
Don’t hesitate to contact management or call the police, the Postal Inspection Service or a postal police officer if you believe you or your co-workers are in any danger whatsoever. For more information on robberies and/or security requirements, see Administrative Support Manual 226 and the RE-5 Handbook, Building and Site Security Requirements.
My fellow coordinators, Sharyn Stone, Kennith Beasley, Omar Gonzalez, and John Dirzius, and I remind you: Postal property, money, accountables, etc. can all be replaced; you, however, cannot. Be safe out there.