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    Public submissions to The Times-Independent can range from press releases to obituaries to feature stories and news. All submissions are subject to editorial review and approval.

    The United States Postal Service relies on its Office of the Inspector General to investigate matters such as fraud, theft, misconduct and other issues within the USPS.

    A representative from the USPS OIG provided the following Q&A to The Times-Independent to provide basic information about the role of the USPS OIG and its hotline, which USPS customers can use to file complaints of mail theft or misconduct. Here is the full Q&A:

    Who We Are

    The USPS OIG, an independent agency within the Postal Service, maintains the integrity and accountability of America’s postal service, its revenue and assets, and its employees.

    The USPS OIG reports to Congress and is under the general supervision of nine presidentially appointed governors. It has more than 1,135 auditors, investigators, and professional support personnel in more than 100 nationwide offices.

    What is the role of USPS OIG Special Agents?

    To protect the mail and to maintain the integrity of postal processes and personnel, the U.S. Postal Service relies on the investigative efforts of the cadre of special agents of the USPS OIG. These special agents – federal law enforcement officers – are charged with maintaining America’s confidence in the integrity of the U.S. Postal Service.

    The USPS OIG’s Investigative efforts, coupled with objective and independent audits, promote the efficiency, effectiveness and integrity of the Nation’s postal system. The charge of our special agents is to investigate internal crimes and frauds against the Postal Service.

    Those efforts contribute to safeguarding the Postal Service’s revenue and assets and help deter postal crimes, ultimately helping to maintain a stable and sound Postal Service.

    Additionally, USPS OIG special agents assist the Postal Service by protecting the mail and helping to maintain the integrity of postal processes, finances, and personnel.

    These special agents are responsible for conducting investigations regarding mail theft by employees, injury compensation fraud, embezzlements and financial crimes, contract fraud, computer crimes, internal affairs, narcotics, employee misconduct, and whistleblower reprisals.

    As sworn federal law enforcement agents, USPS OIG special agents have the power to serve warrants and subpoenas issued under the authority of the U.S., make arrests without warrant for postal-related offences committed in their presence, carry firearms, and make seizures of property as provided by law.

    What is the purpose of the USPS OIG Hotline?

    The USPS OIG Hotline, established in August 1997, provides a vital communications link between the USPS OIG and Postal Service stakeholders to receive complaints from employees, customers, and the general public.

    Complaints include alleged fraud; waste of funds or resources; mail theft and other postal crimes committed by postal employees or contractors; misconduct; violations of laws, rules, or regulations; and danger to public health and safety, relating to Postal Service programs and policies, employees, and contractors.

    What happens to a complaint after the USPS OIG Hotline receives it?

    Procedures are in place to ensure proper consideration is given to all USPS OIG Hotline contacts. In brief, complaints are evaluated and documented, and controls provide maximum protection for the identity of all complainants. Serious allegations and significant trends, such as receiving allegations or complaints from a Post Office, processing facility, or region of the country, may be referred to the executive level.

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