Officer of the Month June 2002

Colonel Francis G. Bonelli

U.S. Postal Inspection Service

Washington, DC—The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund (NLEOMF) has announced the selection of Colonel Francis (“Frank”) G. Bonelli, of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, as its Officer of the Month for June 2002. Colonel Bonelli is currently assigned to the agency’s New York Metro Division Security Force.
Frank Bonelli was born and raised in New York City, the son of a New York City Transit Police sergeant. Frank describes his father as a “typical police officer, quiet about his work, a strong, family oriented man”, whom he always considered a perfect role model. His father’s philosophy was ” … to have a deep understanding of the city and a love for it, because you’re going to risk your life for it every day.”
Following in his father’s footsteps, the young Bonelli entered the New York City police academy in 1965. A year later, he was drafted and served for two years in Southeast Asia. Unfortunately, the wounds he suffered in Vietnam prevented him from returning to the NYPD, however, still yearning for a career in public service, Bonelli joined the U.S. Postal Service as a letter carrier in Jamaica, Queens (NY).
After three years as a letter carrier, in 1971 Bonelli jumped at the opportunity to train for the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, graduating first in his class. Founded by Benjamin Franklin, the Postal Inspection Service has a long and proud history. This highly specialized professional organization, tasked to protect the nation’s mail system from criminal misuse and attack, was exactly the challenge Frank was looking for.
As investigative federal agents, Inspectors work closely with U.S. Attorneys, other law enforcement agencies and local prosecutors to examine postal cases and prepare them for court. These officers provide perimeter security, escort high-value mail shipments and perform other essential protective functions.
This native New Yorker has excelled from his first day on the job. His career path led from the airmail facility at John F. Kennedy International Airport to the Church Street Mail Center in downtown Manhattan. He has served as the postal inspector in charge at both the Brooklyn and Bronx mail facilities and was instrumental in establishing the tactical training unit for postal inspectors. Frank was promoted to his current rank of colonel in May 1997 and has been recognized numerous times for individual and team excellence.
Colonel Bonelli’s accomplishments clearly demonstrate the significant impact this leader has on the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the U.S. Postal Service, and the civilian community at large – as well as on all federal law enforcement agencies in the New York metropolitan area. One of the most noteworthy accomplishments was his direction of the division’s high value registered remittance escort program. This initiative deploys investigators to provide armed escorts of remittance collection from post offices throughout the New York City area. Approximately six thousand such remittance escorts are conducted each month. Since 1992 under Colonel Bonelli’s direction, a total of 616,647 remittance pickups have been completed without incident.
Colonel Francis Bonelli manages the largest unit within the United States Postal Inspection Service, a total of 383 officers in the New York Metro Division Security Force. He is responsible for providing protection for not only postal revenue and assets for 12 million residents in a 25,000 square mile area, but also for 29,000 employees working at ten major postal facilities in the New York metropolitan area.
According to Chief Postal Inspector Kenneth W. Newman, Colonel Bonelli “…exemplifies and models what I believe to be the very best of our leaders, as he is a professional, living testament of what he asks and expects of his officers each day. In other words, he ‘walks the talk’.”
Police Unity Tour
The Police Unity Tour is the official sponsor of the Memorial Fund’s Officer of the Month Program.