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NEWS | Dec. 31, 2014

New York National Guard will help safeguard Times Square New Year's celebration

By Eric Durr New York National Guard

NEW YORK - New York National Guard Soldiers and Airmen will be on duty New Year's Eve to support law enforcement authorities as city residents and visitors say hello to 2015 and goodbye to 2014.

Members of the New York National Guard's Joint Task Force Empire Shield, a force of 500 New York Army and Air National Guard members, will have Soldiers and Airmen on duty at transportation hubs in support of the Port Authority Police Department, the Metropolitan Transit Authority Police Department and the Amtrak Police Department.

Just under 200 National Guard members will be on shift New Years Eve, but additional Guard members can be mobilized if required.

In September the security augmentation force was almost doubled at the direction of New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo.

Those National Guard Soldiers and Airmen will be visible at Penn Station, the PATH terminal, and LaGuardia and JFK airports in coordination with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the Metropolitan Transit Authority and Amtrak.

The New York National Guard's 24th Civil Support Team, a unit that is specially trained to detect chemical, biological and radiological agents, will have a detachment on duty in Manhattan to support the New York Police Department. The 22-man unit, based at Fort Hamilton, in Brooklyn, has partnered with the New York Police Department for counter-terrorism support operations since the unit's formation in 2010.

It is estimated that 1 million people will celebrate New Year's Eve in Times Square. The New York Police Department will control all access points to Times Square as part of the evening's security plans. No bags or backpacks are permitted. Emergency Service squads, drug and bomb sniffing canine units and other counter-terrorism personnel will be present in Times Square on New Year's Eve.

At the New York National Guard headquarters in Latham, N.Y., staff representatives from New York State military forces will man the National Guard's Joint Operations Center. This command and control node provides liaison and linkage to the State Emergency Management Office and New York State Department of Homeland Security.

The New York National Guard will also provide liaison officers to the New York City Police Department in preparation for the New Year's celebration.

The New York Naval Militia will also have members on duty New Year's Eve. A crew of Naval Militia members will be manning Patrol Boat 440 in support of United States Coast Guard operations in New York Harbor on New Year's Eve. Patrol Boat 440, a 44-foot catamaran patrol boat, works on a daily basis with the Coast Guard in support of security operations in the harbor.

And as they do every day, New York Air National Guard members assigned to the Eastern Air Defense Sector in Rome will be monitoring the skies over New York City. The Eastern Air Defense Sector is a component of the North American Aerospace Defense Command and is responsible for coordinating the air defense of the United States east of the Mississippi.