The investigator

From left, South Florida District Operations Program Specialist Walter Dobson, District Manager Jeffery Taylor and Operations Programs Support Manager Janice Atherly

An accident investigation is like a puzzle — and Walter Dobson’s job is to put together the pieces.

Dobson, an operations program specialist, oversees investigations for South Florida District. Most cases involve vehicle accidents, although he also investigates curbside spills and slips and falls.

“It’s a challenging job, but it’s also very rewarding. When you determine the cause of an accident, you can learn from it and prevent future incidents,” Dobson said.

Dobson is one of several operations program specialists across the nation. Each one is responsible for investigating accidents in his or her area.

At a typical auto accident scene, Dobson examines the vehicles to identify any safety-related defects and their possible role in the accident.

At times, he also tries to recreate the scene from the driver’s perspective. He notes obscured signs, light poles or obstructed views, as well as weather and road conditions and other factors that might have contributed to the accident.

Dobson, who began his 34-year postal career as a mechanic at the Miami Vehicle Maintenance Facility, also teaches at a police training center in Jacksonville, FL.