Local Threat Intervention and Prevention Network aims to stop mass violence before it occurs

The program involves identifying the threat and doing something about it immediately.

Annie McCormick Image
Friday, June 3, 2022
How the TIP Network is helping to prevent mass violence
The TIP Network, created under the leadership of Acting United States Attorney Jennifer Arbittier Williams, aims to prevent incidents of mass violence before they occur. This is how it works.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Law enforcement officials in the Philadelphia region are hoping a Threat Intervention and Prevention Network will help prevent mass shootings similar to Texas, Buffalo and Tulsa.

The program involves identifying the threat and doing something about it immediately.

Acting U.S. Attorney of the Eastern District Jennifer Arbittier Williams sat down with Action News to talk about the TIP Network that she introduced in 2021.

"Whenever there was an act of targeted violence, of mass violence, people came forward after the fact and said they had concerns and knew something wasn't quite right. We wanted to design a program that gave those bystanders a way to come forward and take an active role. We designed the TIP Network, not with an eye towards prosecution, but an eye towards preventing acts of mass violence before they occur," said Arbittier Williams.

According to the U.S. Attorney's Office, the TIP Network has two interrelated components: the "Core Team" and the "Community Team."

The Core Team has threat assessment experts from more than a dozen law enforcement agencies.

To date, 100 organizations in our area are part of the Community Team - from large healthcare networks and businesses to religious organizations and mom-and-pop stores.

The two groups meet monthly for training on early identification and assessment of potential threats.

Philadelphia Police Lt. Lamonte Adams and Supervisory Special Agent Dan Tantino of the FBI are both part of the program.

"A local pharmaceutical company had a disgruntled employee that came back to the establishment after being released with a ballistic vest and firearm in a holster and was looking specifically for the manager he had an issue with," said Adams describing one case where the "TIP" program proved successful.

"We were notified by the pharmaceutical company's security director through the TIP Network and possibly stopped this man from hurting or severely injuring that particular person he had an issue with and others in that pharmaceutical company," added Adams.

In that case, Adams said 911 was called, but it was the assistance of TIP and mitigation efforts learned by that company from TIP that led to a successful ending with no one harmed.

When asked how many successful cases they have, Tantino said this:

"We can't prove a negative so, it's good when nothing happens. When we get feedback from an organization we worked with like, 'Hey, you know, we got an education and training, thank you for what you did. We think we're a little better equipped to handle the next thing,'" said Tantino.

The shooting at Jefferson Hospital that killed a nursing assistant and severely injured a police officer, and the stabbing at Lincoln University have been used as training tools for the program.

"When an organization contacts the TIP Network and wants a consultation, we can pull together more than a dozen threat assessment experts in a matter of minutes and have a very quick immediate consultation so fast action can occur. I measure our success by those calls and those calls have been coming in," said Arbittier Williams.

Each time there is a mass shooting, the U.S. Attorney says the program gets more inquiries.

You can learn more about the TIP Network here.