Hundreds of thousands expected in downtown Chicago for NYE, police say

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CHICAGO — Chicago police plan to deploy an additional 1,300 officers across the city to help keep the peace Tuesday as hundreds of thousands are expected to make their way into Chicago to ring in the New Year.

Leaders say their number one priority on News Years Eve  is to keep revelers safe, and police are ramping up patrols as the city gets ready.

Safety is top of mind in the wake of a violent weekend, and City leaders are hoping to start the new year on a high note.

"This additional deployment of officers will be on top of our regular patrols that will be busy safeguarding all 22 districts throughout the city," said Fred Waller, Chief of CPD Bureau of Patrol .

Police outline New Years Eve plans during a live press conference

The increased presence will include officers on bikes and horseback, and k-9 units monitoring the CTA. A team of 300 officers will be deployed specifically for the fireworks display along the river, with another team monitoring Navy Pier. Many cops are cancelling days off or working different shifts to beef up patrols.

"The idea is to boost our visibility on a night with so many people out celebrating. That said, we’ll also have plainclothes officers at events mingling with the crowds in a discrete manner to watch the public gatherings," Waller said.

Police are still looking for the public’s help, asking revelers if they see something, say something. Although rare, law enforcement authorities also caution people against firing guns into the air, saying falling bullets can endanger people’s lives.

There will be several bridge and road closures Tuesday night, so make sure to plan ahead. Metra and CTA will also be offering free rides Tuesday night through Wednesday morning.

Many people said they’re looking forward to a new decade, and they’re ready to put 2019 behind them.

"It’s a big celebration and its just a good atmosphere to be around because everyones excited to ring in the new year," Natalie Rocky said. "It was a rough year, so I’m hoping 2020 is better."

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