Tightest Security In Years At New Year's Celebrations In New York And Las Vegas : The Two-Way Snipers. Specially trained dogs. Multiple layers of security screening. Detectives in hotels. After recent attacks, New York and Las Vegas are seeing beefed up security this year.
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Tightest Security In Years At New Year's Celebrations In New York And Las Vegas

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Tightest Security In Years At New Year's Celebrations In New York And Las Vegas

Tightest Security In Years At New Year's Celebrations In New York And Las Vegas

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RAY SUAREZ, HOST:

New Year's Eve celebrations in the U.S. are just hours away. And police departments around the country have been preparing for months. NPR's Merrit Kennedy reports that New York and Las Vegas will see more security than they have in years.

MERRIT KENNEDY, BYLINE: It's been three months since a shooter killed 58 people from a hotel window in Las Vegas. And Clark County Commissioner Steve Sisolak says there will be an unprecedented amount of security at tonight's celebrations.

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STEVE SISOLAK: Metro has added spotters, snipers and strike teams capable of rapidly deploying within hotel properties.

KENNEDY: The rooftop snipers are new this year in Las Vegas. And they've doubled the number of rapid response teams in case of an incident - and brought in additional medics and medical supplies. Along with police officers and National Guard troops, a federal coordination team will be on the ground to respond to any threats. Las Vegas is the only New Year's Eve celebration in the U.S. that federal officials designated at the highest risk level.

And across the country, New York is preparing to welcome some 2 million people to its celebrations. It's going to be chilly in Times Square. Lows tonight are at just 8 degrees. Mayor Bill de Blasio reassured would-be revelers at a recent press conference.

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BILL DE BLASIO: There are no credible and specific threats against New York City at this point in time and no credible and specific threats against the New Year's Eve celebrations.

KENNEDY: Police Commissioner James O'Neill says the party is going to have its tightest security in years.

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JAMES O'NEILL: The bottom line is this - there will be much the public will see and much the public will not see.

KENNEDY: The police department has sealed off more than 20 blocks around Times Square, shut down 125 parking garages and is deploying officers to every hotel in the area. They're going to be using dogs that are Vapor Wake, meaning they're better at sniffing out explosives in moving crowds. And this year, they'll have more snipers, more heavy weapons teams and thousands of police on the ground.

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JAMES WATERS: So very briefly, I'll take you through a quick visual of what one would see if they were to come to the event on Sunday night.

KENNEDY: James Waters of the department's counterterrorism bureau explains what happens as people enter the heavily guarded Times Square perimeter, marked by cement blocks and city vehicles. First, they'll walk by a Vapor Wake dog. Then...

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WATERS: They will go through a magnetometer, or they will be wanded for weapons. And at some point, they will come to a table where they will have their bags inspected.

KENNEDY: Then they'll repeat this entire process again in a security pen, he says, before entering the celebrations. Despite recent attacks in New York, the NYPD is vowing that, tonight, Times Square will be the safest place in the world.

Merrit Kennedy, NPR News, Washington.

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