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Inside secret passageways at the Post Office (Lookout Gallery)

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Published on Nov 6, 2011

In most (yes, most!) Post Offices there's a series of secret passageways called a "Lookout Gallery" (LOG) that's used by Postal Inspectors and the Office of Inspector General for surveillance purposes. Commonly referred to as a "LOG" the purpose of these structures is to monitor and observe the Postal work environment so as to prevent mail theft.

Yes, unfortunately a small minority of Postal employees have been known to steal letters and packages while on the job. The good news is that, thanks to the LOG (and law enforcement personnel in general) internal theft at the Postal Service is probably a lot less than in most other work environments. In addition to the two-way mirrors (visible at the start of this recording) another critical component of the structure is the "Breakout Door." The breakout doors are usually located at the the base of the LOG, at workroom floor level, so that law enforcement personnel can "breakout" into the work area and make an arrest or take whatever action is needed.

Postal law enforcement personnel aren't generally too fond of working in the "LOG" as it's not usually air-conditioned and it's exempt from fire codes and other safety related regulations. In this video you can see a couple of different ladder configurations for access to and from the "breakout" doors. Law enforcement personnel have been known to fall and get hurt in these areas as the lights you see in this video are normally left off during regular LOG use (the lights are normally kept available for the use of maintenance personnel that need access to the LOG for various reasons).

Starting sometime during the first decade of the second millennium the Postal Inspection Service started installing extensive video monitoring systems in their new facilities instead of a LOG. The LOG is extraordinarily expensive, despite its lack of creature comforts, plus nobody likes spending a lot of time in 'em anyway!

Here's my personal webpage about the Postal Service in general:
http://www.rogerwendell.com/postal.html

11-06-2011

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