New York City prepares for New Year's Eve celebration amid tense times for police

The cold weather in New York will not keep more than a million people away from Times Square. Crowds have already begun to gather early Wednesday morning, staking out spots to see the night's performances, including Taylor Swift.

The famous ball is ready for Wednesday's massive celebration and so are thousands of police officers who will be watching for any signs of trouble. For the NYPD, this year's event comes with an even higher sense of security, reports CBS News correspondent Jericka Duncan.

Stacy Jebson made the 15-hour drive Gainesville, Florida.

"It's a once in a lifetime event for the ball dropping in New York City," Jebson said.

Tim Tompkins, the president of the Times Square Alliance, is in charge of planning this year's party.

"The energy is amazing," Tompkins said. "They are taking selfies of themselves and they are knowing a billion people around the world are watching."

And watching the crowds will be thousands of NYPD officers. Bomb-sniffing dogs and radiation detectors have been deployed. Hundreds of security camera feeds will allow law enforcement officials to spot suspicious activity from their command center.

"Times Square is probably the safest place in New York City on New Year's Eve. We will be patrolling the city by air, by sea, on the ground and in the subway system," NYPD chief James O'Neill said. "We have not received any specific threats, but the city will be on high alert for any trouble."

The end of 2014 brought many challenges for the New York City police department. Demonstrators targeted cops during weeks of protests following a grand jury's decision not to indict an officer in the choke-hold death of Eric Garner.

As authorities prepare to ring in the New Year, they are also concerned for their own safety, adding additional officers to handle potential protests.

"There is a heightened sense of security on this detail," O'Neil said. "As we turn the police officers out we remind them they have to look out for each other, work together, and make sure we all stay safe for this great event."

Everyone who enters the "frozen zone" will be subject to a police safety screenings, and go through a separate radiation detector screening. They'll also have to bundle up: tonight's forecast is 29 degrees.