Steidler: Give postal workers tasers — for their safety and ours

by Paul Steidler

America’s rising, out-of-control crime wave claims a growing number of Postal Service workers as victims of robberies, beatings and even murder. It is time to fight back and arm at least some of them with tasers. Federal law should also be changed to allow trained postal workers to carry guns.

In bold and vicious ways, postal carriers are being attacked for the keys to blue mailboxes and for mail itself, which has large amounts of ATM cards, financial assets, and personal information that can be used for identity theft.

On February 27, the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) alerted financial institutions on the nationwide surge in check fraud schemes involving the mail.

Paul Steidler

“Criminals have been increasingly targeting the U.S. Mail and United States Postal Service mail carriers since the COVID-19 pandemic to commit check fraud,” said FinCEN. “Criminals typically steal personal checks, business checks, tax refund checks, and checks related to government assistance programs,” FinCEN continued.

Postal Service workers go to every address in the United States. That means, every day they visit the most dangerous, crime-ridden, drug-infested neighborhoods. Even crack houses are entitled to postal deliveries. With fentanyl and other drug use rising, the challenges are daunting.

In Oakland, Calif., following a series of attacks on postal workers, including a murder, USPS officials held a news conference on March 20 to ask for the public’s help. This followed a March 3 letter from Oakland’s postmaster that said, “We are asking for your help and vigilance” after a “disturbing” rise in criminal acts against postal workers, vehicles and mailboxes.

In Milwaukee, 44-year-old postal worker Aundre Cross was murdered, allegedly by a gang of four criminals, now under arrest, who followed him while on duty. Cross is remembered by family, co-workers and friends as hardworking, dependable, and a loving father and husband.

Tasers are tried-and-true defensive weapons that send out 50,000 volts of electricity to incapacitate, but seldom kill, a perpetrator. Typically, it takes the person tasered 15 minutes to recover, during which time the police can be called, and the carrier and others can get to safety.

Federal law prohibits postal workers from carrying firearms, either on or off USPS property, except for those employees specifically authorized by USPS’s chief postal inspector or inspector general. Tasers are not considered firearms, though some states require a concealed carry permit.

As of 2021, there were about 1,300 postal inspectors in the Postal Inspection Service, the law enforcement arm of USPS whose professionals are authorized to carry weapons. But the size of USPS’s uniformed police force, which has many responsibilities, has been shrinking as the national crime wave is rising.

However, USPS employs nearly 63,000 military veterans who can quickly be brought up to speed on taser use. Tasers will help to protect them, their colleagues — particularly those working in post offices in dangerous areas — and the public.

While tasers are not the silver bullet in fighting postal crime, they are an easy-to-use and effective tool that will literally send shock waves toward those thinking of harming the Postal Service while also bringing many crimes directly to a halt.

USPS must also work closely with local law enforcement to determine how its police force can best be deployed and work closely with the Department of Justice and other federal law enforcement partners.

And there is no time to waste.

Paul Steidler is a senior fellow with the Lexington Institute, a public policy think tank in Arlington, Virginia.

Categories: Commentary

6 replies »

  1. I think we should have enough postal workers to deliver the mail before we arm them, call it a perk of actually doing their job….

    I’m out $500+ dollars and bad marks on my credit because the post office isn’t doing their job.

  2. I just talked to a former postal carrier who confirmed that this has been a topic of discussion for a while now, although mostly for the door-to-door-on-foot carriers in more urban environs.

  3. Just rescind all restrictions on postal workers’ choice of legal weaponry. Your average citizen does not have to visit crime infested areas on a regular basis but we are allowed by the Constitution to carry for our own protection and the defense of others. As mentioned, postal workers have to visit hellhole neighborhoods as part of their job and they carry valuables. Tasers are limited to close range and dont always penetrate clothing. A taser is a poor substitute for a Glock.

  4. …all that filthy lucre to be made… all that fear to be harvested…all that dominion to be gained… “going postal” will take on a new meaning… stressed out workers with guns in their hands… what could go wrong?

    *head in the sand snoring away

  5. Do away with all gun possession laws. Conceal carry, open carry, all legal. Anyone can own, possess or buy a gun. There should be nothing illegal about that. The crime starts once the gun is used to commit a crime. Seems pretty simple to me.

Leave a Reply