Friday, January 6, 2006

I was walking by the main post office in New York City today when I came across the postal police. First, I'm just amused that we actually need a postal police force. Like, I'm sure they do a great job and everything, but who the hell applies for this job? There's no way postal inspector is at the top of anybody's dream job list, and I'd just like to know how many police academies you need to flunk out of before joining Law & Order: Special Mail Fraud Unit.

Here's why the postal police is the unloved bastard child of the law enforcement community: they drive police minivans. Not vans. Minivans, like a Dodge Caravan or something, but with the siren and everything. I used to think that the bike cops had it rough, as if one day, the police chief thought, "You know what would be funny? Having an officer on a bike try to chase down some drug dealer in a Ford Escalade. Maybe if there's some money left in the budget this year, we can start up a all-skateboard unit or a pogo stick squad." But there's no way you're getting any respect from the bad guys if you're driving around in a minivan. Are you taking the criminals to jail or to soccer practice?

By the way, here's my favorite testimonial from the Postal Inspection Service website:

Once in Des Moines, IA, three or four Inspectors went down to the Polk County Jail to pick up some prisoners to take to U.S. Marshals for escort to federal court. I looked at an inmate on the bench staring at us and thought he was one of mine. I asked, "Are you ready to go?" He got this look of concern on his face and said, "No way, I don't want anything to do with Postal Inspectors!" I had the wrong guy, and he was greatly relieved.
Sounds like a hardened criminal there.... I don't know, maybe he's not a soccer fan.