The U.S. Postal Inspection Service

Duties and History

Inspector John Clum on horseback
In 1898, postal officials sent Inspector John Clum to establish post offices in Alaska during the Gold Rush.

The U.S. Postal Inspection Service has a history nearly as long as the country it serves. On August 7, 1775, William Goddard became the first postal surveyor. His duties helped to ensure the efficiency and security of mail routes.

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Postal Inspector badge, 1970s-1990s

Today’s postal inspectors make arrests and serve federal warrants and subpoenas. They regularly collaborate with other law enforcement agencies, from local police departments to Interpol, to investigate crimes involving the mail, post offices or postal employees.