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Chief Postal Inspector Guy Cottrell Retires; Gary Barksdale Named Acting Chief

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Chief Postal Inspector Guy Cottrell will retire Dec. 31 after more than three decades with USPS, including eight-and-a-half years leading the Inspection Service.

Under Cottrell’s leadership, the Inspection Service played a larger role in dealing with cybersecurity crimes and shaping the nation’s response to the opioid crisis, including preparing the organization for expanded authority under the STOP Act, a law to stem the flow of foreign drugs into the United States.

Cottrell also more closely aligned the Inspection Service with USPS operations, including greater integration of systems and internal communications to better protect employees and customers.

Additionally, he led innovative efforts to promote crime prevention and consumer awareness, including the Consumer Alert News Network and other programs that deliver fraud prevention messages to tens of millions of consumers, as well as Operation Protect Veterans, a partnership with AARP to warn former and active service members about scams.

“We can’t arrest our way out of postal crimes, so we need to educate the American public about scams so they don’t become victims,” Cottrell said.

Postmaster General Megan J. Brennan praised Cottrell’s “highly effective” leadership in a memo announcing his retirement last week.

“Guy has been a strong leader of the 2,766 men and women of the Postal Inspection Service, and has been a consistent promoter of the Inspection Service brand — within the Postal Service and with the public. He has deepened Inspection Service partnerships, information sharing and collaborative investigations with national, state and local law enforcement organizations,” Brennan wrote.

Cottrell began his postal career in 1987 as a letter carrier in his hometown of New Orleans. He later served in several roles for the Inspection Service, including postal inspector, inspector in charge for field operations and deputy chief inspector.

Gary Barksdale will serve as acting chief postal inspector, effective Dec. 31.

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Barksdale, a 19-year Inspection Service employee, has served as deputy chief inspector for the past three years.

Postmaster General Megan J. Brennan announced his appointment in a memo this week. The current chief postal inspector, Guy Cottrell, will retire Dec. 31.

“Gary has been instrumental in leading strategic planning and governance, response to critical incidents, and development of criminal programs to enhance the investigative and enforcement capabilities of the Inspection Service,” Brennan wrote.

“He has been especially effective at driving Inspection Service strategies to enhance drug interdiction, strengthening relationships with partner law enforcement organizations — including Customs and Border Patrol, Office of National Drug Control Policy, and the Drug Enforcement Agency — and in representing the Inspection Service with members of Congress.”

Barksdale began his career as a postal inspector in Los Angeles and later served as assistant inspector in charge in Phoenix and postal inspector in charge of field operations in Washington, DC, and Houston.

He recently completed a detail assignment as the Postal Service’s acting district manager in Northern New England District.

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