Cities ready safety plans ahead of New Year’s Eve festivities

Holidays

NEW YORK (NewsNation) — Excitement is building across the Nation as cities prepare to ring in 2023 — the stages are set and the crowds are getting ready to party, but police have one thing in mind: safety.

Like every year, final security preparations are underway Friday ahead of festivities to protect crowds at outdoor events.

In Nashville 16-foot, 400-pound music note will drop to ring in the new year, and in Charlotte, the city will raise a crown to toast the new year when the clock strikes midnight.

But no party will be bigger than the iconic New Years’ Eve ball drop in New York City’s Times Square. Thousands will squeeze into the area place to watch the iconic 11,000-pound ball with 2,600 Waterford crystals atop One Times Square slowly descend counting down to a new year.

All of the outdoor events will happen with the watchful eye of law enforcement looking over the crowds.

“This type of thing creates a security challenge,” said Bobby Chacon, a former FBI special agent.

Chacon, who was part of the planning and training for large-scale events in the Los Angeles Bureau, says the challenge for law enforcement includes conducting thorough security sweeps of large areas, vetting people showing up for the event, and keeping the area locked down, secure, and safe from start to finish.

He also said part of security preparations, law enforcement usually considers what has happened at other public events throughout the year, like the Independence Day parade shooting in suburban Chicago that killed seven and wounded dozens.

“They do what-if scenarios: what if something like that were to happen here? how would we prevent it,” Chacon explained.

Police officers in uniform and in plain clothes will mix and mingle with the crowds. The show of force will hopefully discourage anyone thinking about doing something sinister.

Chacon urges people going to public events to make sure they have a plan in case something happens, like a shooting or a bomb blast. The two big scenarios Chacon says people should prepare for because they can cause mass casualties and fatalities.

“I would definitely know in advance my exit strategy — where are you going to run to? where are the exits,” Chacon said. “We have the greatest police department in the world that are working with our partners in the state, the partners in the federal government, as well as all the private security in the area to make sure that anyone who comes to Times Square is safe.”

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