In Wake of Attacks, Tighter Security for Times Square on New Year’s Eve

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Mr. O’Neill attributed the stepped-up security in part to recent terrorist attacks in New York City, including the attempted suicide bombing in a subway corridor under Times Square on Dec. 11.

In response, the Police Department prepared a tactical bulletin and training video for officers on how to respond to a suicide attack.

James Waters, the chief of counterterrorism for the New York City police, said the department would distribute the bulletin to officers on Friday. He said it covered how to get bystanders out of the way if the police suspect someone has a suicide bomb, how to take a would-be bomber to the ground and, in the aftermath of an attack, how to approach an explosive device and help victims. As a last resort, he said, officers were trained to use deadly force to stop a suicide attack.

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Workers installing Waterford Crystal triangles on the New Year’s Eve ball in Times Square on Wednesday.

Credit
Alba Vigaray/European Pressphoto Agency

“We owe it to the cops to give them some kind of guidelines in what they can do or what they should do,” Chief Waters said on Thursday.

As the Police Department did before the Thanksgiving Day parade, officials are also sending out ‘Vapor Wake’ dogs, Labrador retrievers that can pick up whiffs of explosive particles in the warm air that trails behind people as they walk.

Those dogs will be among several layers of security that people will pass through twice, first at an outer access point and again when they enter the pens where they can watch the ball drop. Officers will also be checking people with metal detector wands and radiation detection devices, the police said.

The police will use sand trucks and blocker vehicles to stop car or truck attacks, like the one that killed eight people on a Hudson River bike path on Halloween.

In past years, the department deployed around 5,000 officers for New Year’s Eve-related security. This year, police officials said the number would be higher.

The markers on the sides of buildings were intended to keep police officers from having to count floors in the dark after an attack, and instead allow them to quickly figure out how far up a gunman is, police officials said.

The department has also added security and screening procedures at hotels. A hotel unit in the Intelligence Bureau has long trained hotel workers, from housekeepers to security directors, in how to recognize suspicious behavior.

After the shooting in Las Vegas, in which a gunman on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino killed more than 50 people and wounded hundreds of others, the hotel unit added training on how to distinguish a gun case from other luggage like a golf bag, John J. Miller, the deputy commissioner of intelligence and counterterrorism, said in October.

Last year, Mr. O’Neill said about 2 million people celebrated New Year’s Eve around Times Square. He said forecasts this year were for temperatures from 12 to 15 degrees, and with people having to line up many hours before midnight to get in, city officials urged them to dress warmly.

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