By Angi Gonzalez New York City|
The NYPD spent the last 364 days working with the FBI, state police and MTA police to execute their plan to secure Times Square this New Year’s Eve.
“We’ve had a plan we take off the shelf every year…but I have to say every year we take it off the shelf there’s something new in it,” said John Miller, the NYPD Deputy Commissioner of Intelligence & Counterterrorism.
Among the changes being implemented this year will be the use of at least one drone.
Weather permitting, this will be a first time the NYPD uses the tool at a large scale event.
Officials said they’ve taken special precautions to ensure the public’s safety.
The NYPD drone will be tethered to the top of a building above Times Square.
“We don’t want it flying over a crowd. We’ll never have it over a crowd. The area that it’s going to be in will be cordoned off,” said NYPD Chief of Department Terence Monahan.
Officials would not say whether or not that drone would be the only drone in use and avoided questions on the capabilities of the department’s drones.
“I’m not going to answer the amount of drones we will be putting up. I’m not going to tell you how powerful the camera is,” said Police Commissioner James O’Neill.
What officials would confirm is that many of the security tactics used in years past will remain the same.
That includes security teams in nearby hotels as well as law enforcement in plain clothes.
Revelers can also expect multiple layers of security including metal detectors.
Bag searches should also be expected and attendees are asked to leave things like umbrellas, backpacks, coolers, alcohol and especially their personal drones at home.
“If you do fly one, there’s a good chance you’re going to end up getting arrested,” Commissioner O’Neill said.
Travel and parking restrictions will be implemented as early as 4 am on December 31st.
This year the majority of street closures fall between 59th and 34th Streets between 9th and 5th Avenues.
The NYPD is also asking for public for help in securing the event.
They said that if the public sees something they should say something.
“Everyone needs to be ready if they see something if something doesn’t feel right you gotta tell the NYPD officer so that they can have that information acted upon,” said Mayor Bill De Blasio.
Attendees can do that by calling 911 or the NYPD’s terrorism hotline 888-NYC-SAFE.
This year those who want information about the Times Square Celebration can text the word NEWYEARSEVE to 692692 to receive alerts and notifications from New York City Emergency Management.
According to the Mayor’s Office there could be as many as 2 million people in Times Square on New Year’s Eve.