Digital detectives

The NBC report shows Remote Encoding Operations Supervisor Danielle Bousha at work.

The Postal Service employees who determine where poorly addressed mail is supposed to go were spotlighted by NBC’s “Today” this week.

The USPS Remote Encoding Center, located in Salt Lake City, receives digital images of letters and packages with illegible addresses from across the nation.

The center’s more than 1,500 employees, whom NBC calls “de facto detectives,” examine each image to decipher the address.

“We are kind of like detectives,” Data Conversion Operator Khomsan Vongsengkeo says during the segment. (Some employees may be unable to view external videos on postal computers.)

Ninety-nine percent of the letters that USPS handles each work day can be sorted electronically, the report notes. Images of the remaining 1 percent are sent to the Salt Lake City center.

“The stuff that we see … can’t be read by the machines,” says Remote Encoding Operations Supervisor Danielle Bousha.

On average, each employee at the center reviews 7,000 images daily. They work fast, although some mail stands out.

“[Sometimes] you can see where a child has written to their grandpa or grandma,” says Data Conversion Operator Crystal Free. “I just work really hard to make sure it goes where it needs to go.”