New York City police will deploy a camera-equipped drone above Times Square, along with new “counter-drone technology” blocking other devices from the area, where they expect as many as 2 million New Year’s Eve revelers.
The drone technology is the newest innovation developed by the largest U.S. police department as it prepares for an annual event that already features a broad array of anti-terrorism tactics. They will be used along with police airplanes and helicopters as surveillance tools, said Police Commissioner James O’Neill.
Police and federal agents have worked with hotel staffs throughout the area in an effort to prevent an incident similar to the sniper who shot to death 59 outdoor concert-goers from a hotel room high above the Las Vegas strip on Oct. 1, 2017. O’Neill said authorities have no evidence of any credible threat of terrorism for New Year’s Eve.
Thousands of New York’s 37,000-officer police force, including hundreds of rookies sworn in Friday, will flood the area. No one will be more than 10 feet away from a uniformed or undercover plain clothes officer, O’Neill said. Participants in the celebration will be cordoned off in sections, or pens, in an area from 37th Street to 59th Street and between Sixth and Eighth Avenues.
“You will see a lot of officers with a lot of gear and long guns,” said O’Neill. “There will be much security that people see and much that they don’t see.”