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Chicago Police To Beef Up Patrols For New Year's Eve Celebrations

CHICAGO (CBS) -- As people get ready to flood the city for New Year's Eve, the Chicago Police Department is boosting patrols to keep everyone safe.

An additional 1,300 officers will be deployed across the city on New Year's Eve, to help handle any trouble if it pops up.

"Officers from every district and every division are pitching in this year. Besides our reliable beat cops, CPD has called upon its Marine and Mounted units for additional patrols," CPD Chief of Patrol Fred Waller said.

Police said officers will be patrolling on bikes downtown, and K-9 units will be monitoring public transit stations and other large gatherings. Many officers are canceling their days off or working different shifts to beef up patrols during New Year's Eve festivities Tuesday night.

The Chicago Riverwalk will be closed at 10 p.m. for two fireworks displays Tuesday night; one along the river and another at Navy Pier.

A team of 300 officers will be deployed specifically for the fireworks display along the river. A second team of officers will monitor the Navy Pier fireworks show.

Waller said plainclothes officers also will be mingling with New Year's Eve crowds to keep an eye out for trouble.

City officials said several downtown streets also will be closed to vehicle and pedestrian traffic between about 11 p.m. New Year's Eve and 12:30 a.m. New Year's Day; including Upper Wacker Drive between Lake Street and Lake Shore Drive, and all Chicago River bridges between Franklin Street and Columbus Drive.

"We are anticipating large crowds and significant traffic impacts in the downtown area," Office of Emergency Management and Communications executive director Rich Guidice said.

City officials urged people celebrating New Year's Eve to use public transportation, taxis, or rideshare services to get around.

The CTA is offering free rides on all buses and trains between 10 p.m. on New Year's Eve and 4 a.m. on New Year's Day. Riders won't need to use their Ventra passes to board buses or pass through turnstiles at train stations.

For the first time, Metra also is offering free rides from its downtown stations starting at 6 p.m. on New Year's Eve. The commuter rail agency also will provide late service on most of its lines, with the last trains leaving downtown between 1:10 a.m. and 1:25 a.m.


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