It's New Year's Eve, and billions of people around the world plan to ring in the new year tonight. In New York City, more than one million people are expected to pack into Times Square. Roughly 7,000 New York City Police Department officers and heavily armed counter-terrorism teams will be standing by to keep them safe.
For the first time, an NYPD drone will be part of their aerial arsenal. It's designed to supplement the police helicopters circling above and the more than 1,200 fixed cameras in the 10-block area.
"The drone actually is able to give us a view inside any of the gaps between those cameras," John Miller, deputy commissioner for intelligence and counter-terrorism for the NYPD. "It gives us flexibility, visibility, and agility that you wouldn't have with another device."
For the NYPD, preparing for New Year's Eve is a year-long affair.
"When midnight strikes and the ball drops and everybody goes home, we start planning for next year," Miller said. He said people hoping to celebrate will go through metal detectors first. No backpacks, coolers or umbrellas will be allowed. Some people may even be patted down if officers feel there is something they need to take a closer look at.
"It's not quite like going to the airport because we gotta move it through, but it has some of the same elements," Miller said.
There will be plenty of police presence, many wearing tactical gear armed with high-capacity weapons. Others will blend in with the crowd. Snipers will be stationed on rooftops and officers embedded inside surrounding hotels.
"So that if you have something that occurs in a hotel -- either before the event or during the event -- you don't have to figure out well, which hotel is it, how are we going to get people there… all of that's built in," Miller said.
Like last year, more than 200 police cars and sanitation trucks will block roadways to prevent the possibility of a car driving into the crowds.
Police say there is no specific credible threat to the celebration, but like every year, they are taking no chances and are always making adjustments to their tactics. The NYPD calls Times Square on New Year's Eve one of the best-protected events at one of the safest venues in the entire world.