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Police Beefing Up For Y2K

For local and federal law enforcement organizations worried that New Year's Eve might bring a terrorist attack or a Y2K techno-calamity -- or both -- the countdown has begun.

The coming holiday means big defensive plans and big expenditures for police overtime, CBS News Correspondent Eric Engberg reports.

New York City will put 37,000 police (some working undercover) on the streets for its annual Times Square celebration. The vigilance level at places like the World Trade Center, once a terrorist target, will be high.

At familiar Washington landmarks, where tighter security has been the rule since the Oklahoma City bombing, new precautions have been added. On Tuesday, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff was among those evacuated from his Pentagon office when a suspicious package was found. In the end it turned out to be a false alarm.

Washington Police Chief Charles Ramsey knows that the federal monuments and offices make ideal symbolic targets for foreign terrorists and has authorized $1 million in overtime. "We've canceled all leaves for all of our members," he explained, "so all of our sworn and civilian members will be working over the holiday season."

The Seattle arrest of suspected members of Osama bin Laden's terror network has triggered enough excess jumpiness that some authorities are trying to dial back the tension level.

New York's police commissioner said he will be in Times Square with family when the ball drops -- despite warnings from outside experts.

And terrorism analysts said there is danger in obsessing about threats. "Ironically, if people get too afraid and don't continue to do what they have planned to do, go to special events, the terrorist need not even detonate a bomb," said terrorism expert Frank Cilluffo. "He's won already."

In spite of all the talk about globe-girdling, bomb throwing terrorists and computer meltdowns that create havoc, police say the greatest threat facing millennium celebrants is an old fashioned one: Drunk drivers, who they're also gearing up to stop.