Pittsburgh police have created a special 6-member squad to help businesses, community groups, or churches, says the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. The Community’s Technical Investigative and Preparedness Section, or C-TIPS, has a broad mandate to improve communication and collaboration between the bureau and a variety of organizations, said Chief Nate Harper. It already helped after a Jan. 12 bomb scare forced the evacuation of a hospital construction site costing $250,000 in lost productivity. Officers trained employees how to identify dangerous objects and respond to threats.
“This will now give [community activists] the opportunity to have an officer on the other end of the line that knows them and can talk with them on a first-name basis,” said Mayor Luke Ravenstahl. C-TIPS can be reached through the city’s 311 contact line. The squad will spearhead efforts to involve religious groups in law enforcement. “The faith-based organizations have a wealth of information,” said Harper.