- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 31, 2015

Security will reach unprecedented levels at New Year’s Day festivities across the U.S., particularly at Friday’s Rose Parade and Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California, as authorities work to prevent terror attacks at major celebrations.

While the European cities of Paris and Brussels canceled some New Year’s Eve fireworks celebrations out of fear of attacks, and cable news channels were glued Thursday to a massive fire at a luxury hotel in Dubai, American cities pushed forward with festivities — doubling down on security measures instead.

More than two dozen federal law enforcement agencies will be on hand in Pasadena for the Rose Bowl and Rose Parade, bringing with them an “unprecedented volume of resources and technologies,” according to Mark Selby, deputy special agent in charge of the Department of Homeland Security’s investigative bureau in Los Angeles.

Bomb-sniffing dogs, devices that detect small amounts of radiation, additional camera surveillance and rapid response teams will all be part of the extra security precautions put in place for the game and the 5-mile parade, which draws more than 700,000 spectators. The 102nd Rose Bowl college football classic after the parade is expected to pack 90,000 fans into the Rose Bowl stadium.

The stadium and parade route have been declared “no-drone zones” through the duration of the events. Meanwhile, both events have, for the first time, been designated as “rating 1” security events, drawing extra precautions, though officials stress that no specific threat has been identified.



“My biggest concern is the lone wolf,” said Pasadena Chief of Police Phillip Sanchez. “That is the person who is most difficult to detect.”

He cautioned attendees and spectators to report any suspicious activity to authorities, noting someone other than an attacker often has some knowledge of plans and might be able help authorities intercede ahead of time.

Across the country, authorities were on edge for New Year’s festivities following terror attacks against soft targets in Paris and San Bernardino, California.

In Paris terrorists carried out coordinated attacks that killed 130 people by opening fire on restaurants and cafes, detonating explosive devices outside a soccer stadium and storming a concert hall. Weeks later in San Bernardino, husband-and-wife team Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik opened fire on a government agency’s holiday party and killed 14 people.

In New York, where the annual ball drop in Times Square regularly draws 1 million spectators, police had extra officers on hand. More than 6,000 New York Police Department officers were deployed to Times Square New Year’s Eve — about 600 to 800 more officers than usual, according to Police Commissioner William J. Bratton.

In addition to high security at the Rose Bowl, two other New Year’s Day bowl games are also seeing heightened security.

At the Fiesta Bowl in Glendale, Arizona, game attendees are not allowed to bring purses or backpacks into the stadium. Only clear 12-by-12 plastic bags or purses smaller than a clutch will be allowed inside.

Police were “all hands on deck” ahead of New Year’s Eve festivities in New Orleans, where the Sugar Bowl will also take place New Year’s Day.

“We’re at 100 percent staffing through the weekend,” New Orleans Police Superintendent Michael Harrison told the Baton Rouge Advocate. “We’re doing everything we can to make this a safe, fun experience.”

 

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