FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
TUESDAY, JULY 16, 2002
TDD (202) 514-1888
STATEMENT OF BARBARA COMSTOCK, DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC AFFAIRS,
REGARDING THE TIPS PROGRAM
"First and foremost, Operation TIPS is a program under development, and its blueprint is not yet finalized. The Operation TIPS reporting system was announced in concept six months ago, and we look forward to its rollout in the late summer or early fall.
"Operation TIPS is simply a reporting system - not a membership organization or recruiting activity - based upon successful existing non-governmental programs like Highway Watch, River Watch and Coast Watch, which enable American workers to report unusual and non-emergency issues that they observe in the normal course of their work. Several of these industries have requested a uniform method of reporting such matters to public authorities.
"The industries that will be involved in Operation TIPS represent workers who have regular routines that take them down roads, rivers, coastlines, and public transit routes, and through neighborhoods and communities. Their jobs make them uniquely well positioned to understand the ordinary course of business in the area they serve, and to identify things that are out of the ordinary. Many of these industries already have taken steps to offer their employees a voluntary way to report this type of information, but they are looking to the Department of Justice to offer a comprehensive, reliable and cost-effective voluntary reporting system. Operation TIPS is that voluntary reporting system through which information can be maintained and analyzed in a single database, and will be referred to local, state and federal law enforcement agencies for appropriate follow-up.
"None of the Operation TIPS materials published on the web or elsewhere have made reference to entry or access to the homes of individuals; nor has it ever been the intention of the Department of Justice, or any other agency, to set up such a program. Our interest in establishing the Operation TIPS program is to allow American workers to share information they receive in the regular course of their jobs in public places and areas. Once they report the information, they can rest assured that law enforcement officials will be taking any appropriate next steps."