THE MAGAZINE

Comcast’s 9-11 Lessons

By Teresa Anderson

The driver and any passengers are then asked to exit the vehicle so that officers can search the interior. At this point, everyone who arrived in the vehicle is scanned with a baton that detects explosives or gunpowder residue.

Some materials that a vehicle may be delivering, such as office or cleaning supplies, may stay at the screening facility and be placed into storage. If this is the sole cargo, the vehicle is released. Other vehicles are prepared to proceed to the main building. Armored vehicles carrying cash are sealed by officers at the screening facility. The seal must be intact for the cash to be accepted at the main building.

Officers then enter a black SUV that serves as an escort vehicle. Officers follow the visiting vehicle around the block and into the parking area. Cameras also follow the progress of the screened vehicle.

Postal Inspection Service

The U.S. Postal Inspection Service (PIS) is staffed with federal law enforcement officers who work to protect the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) and to prevent criminals from using the U.S. mail system to perpetrate crime. Postal Inspectors are armed and assigned to critical postal facilities throughout the country, such as the regional processing and distribution center in Philadelphia. PIS officers participate in several critical programs, including those designed to prevent workplace violence and detect hazardous mail.

The distribution center covers 900,000 square feet and sits on a 50-acre site. Completed in 2006, the facility is the first USPS processing facility built specifically for a modern computer-aided distribution network. The high-tech process helps employees process the hundreds of millions of pieces of mail that pass through the building each day. Routing mail to 150 million addresses, the facility processes almost half of the world’s mail.

Workplace violence. Though a high-profile series of shootings by USPS employees beginning in the early 1980s created the public perception that the postal service was filled with angry, unhinged employees and led to the phrase “going postal,” the USPS always contended that its rate of workplace violence was lower than that of other industries. A 2000 report from The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University validated that assertion. The report resulted from a two-year study that found postal workers no more likely to become aggressive on the job and a third less likely to become victims of homicide while in the workplace.

Nevertheless, combatting both public perception and actual threats of workplace violence remain a priority at the USPS, according to Darryl G. Wallace, CPP, U.S. Postal Inspector and security team leader. The USPS has launched two programs to help address the issue: the Threat Assessment Team (TAT) program and the Safe and Secure program.

TAT. The TAT program, which operates under the auspices of the PIS, is a quick-reaction team that investigates incidents and monitors potentially volatile situations in an attempt to keep them from escalating. Employees are urged to contact the TAT hotline about any incident that has already occurred or suspicious behavior that might become an incident.

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