law enforcement

KN, p. 293 “Europol”


The internet bombards us with more information about the other side of the planet than we could ever have imagined even 20 years ago. TV and computers now stream live events as they happen, instead of via delayed taping or recording days or weeks later as was the norm during the last century. But, with that immediacy of global sharing also comes the ability to commit crimes in new and more heinous ways.


Bank fraud can now occur through cyber crime, with fraudulent cryptocurrency transactions as the shiny new way of scamming the unsuspecting.


Instead of drug deals happening on street corners and alleyways, international transport of shipping containers full of illegal drugs (and legal goods in short supply transported illegally) plague the harbor masters at entry ports of each major country.


Global unrest due to political or natural disasters cause people to attempt emigration to safer places, giving rise to illegal immigration attempts. Human traffickers take advantage of the young people eager to cross borders without the means to do so legally, then sell those people into slavery or worse.


Across the globe, law enforcement is tasked to stem local crime, provide a safe environment for its own population, and enforce the laws on the books. But, when criminals seek to commit their crimes in another region in an effort to slow down pursuit or prevent investigation into their criminal acts, law enforcement in each jurisdiction usually has to find a way to work together in order to catch the bad guys. This is not always easy. Big cities have different methods than small communities do; federal, state, and local regulations may be at odds with each other, and resources are not easily shared.


There have been a few TV shows featuring international law enforcement groups – a current show is FBI International. That show highlights the difficulty facing agencies battling crimes that cross international borders. Europol is one of those real-life agencies. 


Through Europol, the European Union, (a group of countries -presently 27- agreeing to work together in large part for economic reasons) addresses crime that crosses borders. “Our main goal is to achieve a safer Europe for the benefit of all the EU citizens.” *


Europol was officially established in 1995 to fight international drug trafficking and organized crime. It has operated out of The Hague (seat of government in the Netherlands) ever since. The Directors have come from various countries within the EU.


Forensic science is a big part of any law enforcement support system. When needed, Europol investigators are able to collect evidence at international (Eurozone) crime scenes and send it on to the lab. It is sorted and analyzed by qualified scientists who apply the latest scientific methods during processing. Law enforcement agencies across the EU can call on this assistance for the crimes that cross borders.


Europol helps fight these crimes:

  • Euro counterfeiting – by determining the source of equipment and supplies needed to manufacture illegal Euro dollars.
  • Illicit drug production – by helping to destroy illegal production sites, seize illegal drugs, stop illegal synthetic drug production, and to collect evidence in EU Member States.
  • Payment card fraud – by seeking and prosecuting the criminal organizations behind credit card cloning and counterfeiting, and their tampering with credit card readers and machines.
  • Terrorism – by providing immediate on-site information sharing and evaluation support for investigations into terrorist attacks, in or out of the EU.
  • Cybercrime – by providing a centralized, united response to crimes committed online affecting EU member states.
        • Financial
        • Infrastructure (i.e. power or water related)
        • Child online porn
        • Information systems

Part of Europol’s mission is not just to show up to assist local authorities, but also to train the regional law enforcement groups to better handle their own investigations – with more knowledge, a higher level of investigations can improve results.


Europol provides training to law enforcement personnel both in and out of the Eurozone. Connections made between officers from a variety of countries can only improve cooperation throughout the continent in order to more effectively combat criminal enterprises.


 *quote from the Europol website



KN, p. 287 “Postal Inspectors: Law Enforcement Agents”



Most of us think of the Post Office as the local place where we mail packages, pick up our mail from those handy P.O. Boxes, and buy stamps from the helpful window clerks. In fact there are many different types of employees within the country’s postal system, including Postal Inspectors and Postal Police Officers. The 1200 Postal Inspectors are federal law enforcement officers entitled to carry firearms and make arrests in order to protect the system from people that would commit fraud through its use.


The first Postmaster General of the United States, Benjamin Franklin, set up a system back in the 1770s whereby mail theft could be investigated by the newly formed U.S. Postal Inspection Service. 240+ years later, there are 200 laws that deal with specific crimes against the USPS. These days, much more than letters and money is stolen from the mail and the postal service is used by nefarious types for transporting all kinds of illegal items, including pornography.

The USPIS reports that it made 5,759 arrests in 2019, with an 80% conviction rate, largely for mail theft and mail fraud.

While mail and package thefts are thoroughly investigated, those thefts pale in comparison monetarily to the millions of dollars of illegal drugs that criminals attempt to pass through the system each year. The USPIS employs state-of-the-art methods at their National Forensic Laboratory in Virginia to detect and identify opioids and other drugs after seizure, process fingerprints and DNA to tie the drugs to the bad guys, and ferret out cyber criminals of all types that seek to misuse the mails.

Due to the growing global problems with opioid and fentanyl trafficking, the USPIS agents work cases together with the DEA (Drug Enforcement Agency), Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force, and U.S. Customs and Border Protection to enforce the laws of our country. One interesting method of detecting illicit drugs in the mail allows inspectors to check for 300+ substances without ever opening the packages.

The USPS takes the mission of guarding the mail quite seriously and has a few tips for private citizens to help avoid theft of packages and letters. Check them out:

  • Pick up your mail daily. If you’ll be away, contact the local post office and have them hold your mail until you return.
  • Don’t send cash in the mail.
  • If you need to send something important in the mail, take it to the physical post office or drop it in one of the big blue mail boxes right before pickup time.

If you expect to receive a particular piece of mail and don’t, call the local post office and/or call the sender as soon as you realize it hasn’t arrived on time.


If you suspect mail fraud, you can report it by writing to this address:

Criminal Investigations Service Center
Attn: Mail Fraud
433 W.Harrison Street, Room 3255
Chicago, Il 60699-3255


Just in case you think that the USPIS focuses on the bad guys alone, they also send out emergency response teams after natural disasters (like fires and hurricanes) in order to restart mail service.


The USPIS press kit ( points out some of the agency’s duties and history.

Stay tuned for the next article about the USPIS, where I share information about high profile cases in which they have been involved.


KN, p. 285 “Top Ten New Posts 2021”

Thanks to the thousands of Kerrian’s Notebook readers who have spoken! Here are the Readers’ Choice Top Ten new posts for 2021. Read them for the first time or enjoy them again.  🙂

#10  "Tomato Basil Chicken Soup"






#9  "Was It Medical Malpractice?"

#8  "Hurricane Season Opened June 1st"


#7  "About the Bats"




#6  "Recovery Times for On the Job Injuries"

#5  "Visiting Detective Kylee Kane - HOA Murder"

#4  "Chicken Pot Pie"

#3  "The Impact of Weather on Guns and Bullets"

#2  "Pumpkin Pecan Cheesecake Bars"

and the most read new post in 2021 was:

"Visiting Detective Quinn Sterling"

Here's to a great 2022 and Happy Sleuthing!



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