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Entries in New Year's Eve (11)

Thursday
Dec302010

Times Square Security Tightened Ahead of New Year's Celebration

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- As hundreds of thousands of people prepare to gather in Times Square for the annual revelry at the "Crossroads of the World," New York City officials completed their preparation process: removing street furniture from the area (trash cans, mailboxes, newspaper racks); sealing 27-inch diameter, 197-pound manhole covers into their 395 pound frames; checking live camera feeds; and furnishing their command posts both on the scene and at police headquarters. They're also completing final duty rosters for the thousands of officers who will be on hand to keep revelers safe.

Federal and local intelligence and counter terror officials meanwhile told ABC News that there was no credible, specific terror threat timed to the celebration.

"We have no specific threats against the city on New Year's Eve," said Police Commissioner Ray Kelly. "Anytime large numbers of people come together we put in our counter terrorism overlay. We have other events going on: we have a four mile run in Central Park at midnight; a fireworks display at Prospect Park in Brooklyn; fireworks by the Statue of Liberty; … So it's not just Times Square. But I can assure you we looked at all of these events closely. We will have several thousand police officers deployed. … We have every indication that it will be a safe and happy event. "

On Thursday, the New York City Police Dept. was putting the finishing touches on the "ring of steel" it uses to protect revelers: a security screen consisting of 17-plus miles of barricades; entrance point searches; video feeds; and uniformed officers spaced every few yards. There will also be numerous security measures not quite so apparent to the untrained eye that include chemical sniffers, biological sensors and handheld radiation wands and pagers.

Outside of Times Square, special roving units will have citywide duty, ready to move to any other location deemed in need of a critical response. And inside of the frozen zone there will also be "flying squads" of detectives and specialists ready to swoop in on any suspected terrorist, nutcase, or common criminal.

On Thursday, bulldozers and sanitation crews were removing the final tons of snow from the areas where penned-in revelers will wait for hours for the famed ball to drop.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

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