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NYPD Takes Security Precautions Ahead Of New Year’s Ball Drop In Times Square

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The Times Square New Year's Eve Ball is tested the day before New Year's Eve on December 30, 2011.  (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

The Times Square New Year’s Eve Ball is tested the day before New Year’s Eve on December 30, 2011. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Millions around the world and thousands in Times Square will have their eyes on the sparkling Waterford crystal ball as it drops to ring in 2012.  The NYPD, however, will have their eyes on revelers headed to watch the big event.

The celebration in the Crossroads Of The World is second to none and the NYPD says so is security for the event.
Thousands of New York’s finest will be in uniform and plainclothes, and bomb sniffing dogs will be strategically stationed, CBS 2’s Hazel Sanchez reported.

“You’ll see mounted police officers. Our helicopters will be up in the air. We’re checking a 200-block area around Times Square,” Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said earlier Friday.

Kelly also said people who enter the area will have to go through a magnetometer check.

Roberto and Arianna Coira are visiting New York City from Puerto Rico to experience it for the first time in person and are not worried about increased security.

“The energy, the action, it’s alive, it’s vibrating completely different from what we have in Puerto Rico,” Roberto Coira told CBS 2’s Hazel Sanchez.

“I don’t feel I’m in danger of anything,” said Arianna Coira.

As the NYPD checks bags and screens revelers with metal and radiation detectors, they won’t be alone. There have been no reports of potential terror threats aimed at Times Square, but Commissioner Kelly said the Joint Terrorist Task force is ready.

“We have 120 of our detectives assigned to the FBI’s joint task force. They have their own operation center activated.  We will as well,” Kelly said.

COBRA teams will handle chemical, biological and radiological threats and will be pre-deployed to key areas. Manhole covers are sealed, barricades are set up to pen in the revelers and at least 500 security cameras are in place to scan the crowds.

“This would be the safest place ever.  It’s a wonderful night to be here,” Carmen Villarica-Remache, of Queens, said.

Meanwhile, on Friday, a crowd cheered as the New Year’s Eve Ball dropped in a dress rehearsal.

1010 WINS’ Stan Brooks reports

Workers set up barricades, rigged stage lights and otherwise got the area ready for the celebration. Organizers inflated thousands of balloons which will be handed out to revelers Saturday night.

Some 238 new Waterford crystal panels were added to those from past years on the nearly six-ton ball. It’s adorned with almost 3,000 crystal triangles. The new patterns on the ball represent friends holding hands for this year’s theme, “Let There Be Friendship.”

“It’s really unbelievable, it’s like a jewel in the sky,” Jeff Strauss, of Countdown Entertainment, told 1010 WINS’ Stan Brooks. “what’s so great about this ball is it’s not just us in Times Square, the one million revelers, it’s over 100 million Americans and over a billion people around the globe that will be counting down with us on New Year’s Ever.”

A large turnout is expected in Times Square and the Sanitation Commissioner said crews are ready to take on the trash.

WCBS 880’s Catherine Cioffi At The Crossroads Of The World

“I think we have sufficient personnel on board Saturday night to make sure that we do a good clean up and it should go well for all involved,” John Doherty said.

Organizers of the Times Square event also announced a star-studded line-up for the big night.

Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber, Drake, Pitbull, Cee Lo Green, Hot Chelle Rae, Broadway Cast of “Rock of Ages,” and more are slated to perform.

Lady Gaga was also chosen by Mayor Michael Bloomberg to lead the final 60-second countdown to the New Year.

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